Fulham Face Striker Crisis

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID KENT

Stoke 2

Fulham 0

SLUMPING out with a whimper is the least of Fulham manager Mark Hughes's worries as he fears for Moussa Dembele. The Belgian front man was carried off following Andy Wilkinson's crunching tackle, which Hughes slammed as 'ridiculous' and potentially careerthreatening.

Hughes hopes scans clear Dembele of serious injury following the injury-time incident, knowing he faces a striker crisis as he is without broken-leg victim Bobby Zamora, but does not hold out much hope.

'If he's avoided serious injury then he's been a very lucky boy,' he said. 'The tackle was ridiculous at that stage of the game.

'When you're at that stage of the game and leading 2-0, there's a certain code -- you look after your fellow professional.

'The lad has ignored that and he's put a fellow professional's career at risk by the nature of the challenge. I don't know what the hell he was thinking about.'

Fulham assistant boss Dave Kemp admitted: 'It was unnecessarily rash. We've spoken to Andy about it and we agree that he didn't need to do it.'

Wilkinson's challenge overshadowed a win for Stoke that featured a rare goal -- Danny Higginbotham's second in exactly a year -- and one straight from manager Tony Pulis's tactics board. …