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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 6 hours ago
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Sep 28, 2012

Dimitar Berbatov out two weeks

Manager Martin Jol is delighted by the way Dimitar Berbatov has started life at Fulham but will have to do without the striker when Manchester City comes to Craven Cottage on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Berbatov was set for another starring role against Roberto Mancini's City but will miss the match -- and the next two weeks -- through injury.

"Berbatov looked good in the training session as usual and then the final shot (of the session) he felt something and he had to go in and stop training," Jol said. "It appears he has not got a tear but a problem with his hip, upper thigh, so we couldn't take the risk to involve him tomorrow."

The Bulgarian represents a coup for the Whites, who saw off competition from Serie A giants Juventus and Fiorentina to sign him on transfer-deadline day.

Berbatov has shone in his first two-and-a-half appearances for Fulham and netted twice as it saw off West Brom 3-0 in its last home game.

"I was very pleased (with his impact) because we were worried because we lost our quality in midfield and that was probably our biggest quality," Jol said, referring to the recent departures of Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele. "We had one that scored the goals and one that was good on the ball and then he came and he almost filled two positions in one."

Berbatov will not be the only player to miss Saturday's game, with Kieran Richardson, Ashkan Dejagah and Philippe Senderos all not quite ready to feature after injury.

Mahamadou Diarra is another out of the reckoning for the Cottagers but there has been some good news on his fitness this week. It had been feared the Malian could be ruled out for the majority of the season but surgery shows an injury to his left knee is not as bad as it was feared.

"Diarra had a minor operation but he will still be out for the next four weeks at least," Jol said. "They removed a few little pieces of bone from his knee but that was it so that was pleasing. There was not a lot of damage so they had a look in his knee and that was it. The first option was to have a look and hope it was not that bad and it wasn't. If there would have been more damage with his cruciate or his ligaments, then he could have been out for more but it is exactly what we thought it was but it is still four weeks."

Despite good news on the Diarra front, Jol admits he is planning to bring in a free agent this week to bolster his midfield.

Owen Hargreaves and Nigel Reo-Coker are amongst those to have been linked to Fulham but the Dutchman swiftly ruled them out, revealing instead the player he plans to sign is a defensive midfielder from overseas.

"We are trying to do something in the next couple of days but not with the players you mentioned," he said. "It will be a central midfielder. We have to go abroad and we have to test him to see if he is 100 percent fit and we will talk to him. We hope to get it done next week."

Jol said he is an eyeying a former player of his at Hamburg.

"It's not a mystery player, the only thing is we haven't spoken to him yet," Jol said. "I don't want to mention his name because if I mention his name, maybe another club will jump on him and I don't want to take that risk. As it looks now, we tested him and he looked fine and it will be a number four who played abroad, who played for me in Hamburg."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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