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By ESPN Staff

Fulham defender Elliot to miss start of season

Fulham's New Zealand defender Simon Elliott could miss the start of the season after damaging a calf muscle during the club's pre-season tour of Austria.

Manager Chris Coleman and his squad are back in Britain after a win over Israeli side Maccabi Petah Tikva and a draw with a strong Real Madrid team in Austria.

But the Craven Cottage boss told club website: 'Unfortunately the only down side of the trip was that we lost Simon through a calf injury.

'We are taking every precaution with him to protect that, and make sure we can get him back as quickly as possible.'

Fulham face Manchester United at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the Premiership, on Sunday August 20, and the loss of Elliott would be a blow.

He impressed in 14 starts last season after joining Fulham from US side Columbus Crew.

Coleman said: 'It is disappointing, but it is just one of those things that happen. Other than that we have been okay, and the fitness levels of the players keep on improving every day.'

Fulham face Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach and Portugal's Boavista on the next two Saturdays.

Ahead of the new Premiership season, Coleman - whose side finished 12th in 2005-06 - added: 'It won't be easy but if we can stay clear of injuries, keep our squad together and get a good run going we can get in to the top half of the table.'