Fulham manager Chris Coleman is prepared for a backlash from Bolto tomorrow after Sam Allardyce’s side were knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Marseille in France on Thursday.
While Bolton were involved in Europe, Fulham have had two weeks off since their 6-1 demolition of West Bromwich Albion and Coleman has been grateful for the break.
He took his squad to Abu Dhabi for four days and hopes that the benefits of the break will enable his side to finally secure their first away victory of the season.
“They are a strong team – look at their home record, it’s one of the best home records in the league – and this is going to be a big, big game for us.
“We are either going to see a backlash or they will be on a downer but I don’t know. As far as I am concerned, it is not about Bolton, it is about us,” said Coleman.
“We needed the two weeks off. You can say we won 6-1 and everybody is on a high so we can’t wait for the next game, but I looked at it a different way.
“The guys needed a little break from the training ground. We took them for four days away to relax and recharge the batteries. There are 12 important games remaining for us and it has been a long, hard season, not just physically but mentally.
“It was important for us to use that two-week break in the right way and we did that. We trained two days out of four and just chilled, it was great.
“I can see in the players that they have come back and got a little hunger for the ball because they have not sen it,” said Coleman, who is certainly not blaming his players for failing to pick up a win on their travels so far this season.
He accepts that as the inevitable risk of the adventurous style Fulham have adopted away from home this season.
“Our results have not been great but apart from twice – at Blackburn and Portsmouth when we did not really play well – we have attacked and had a go.
“When you go away and play open like we have it is hard for the defence. It is not just down to the defence or the goalkeeper because we have been set up to attack.
“A lot of teams who go away are cautious and choose the right moments to attack but we have changed it this season.
“You can’t knock the guys, there is only a couple of times we have gone away and not competed. As long as they have a go that is all you can ask,” added Coleman, who adds midfielder Papa Bouba Diop, back from African Nations Cup duty with Senegal, to the squad which hammered West Brom.