Healy gets Fulham chance
David Healy may have an opportunity to push his claims as a first-choice Fulham forward at Blackburn on Saturday.
Last Updated: 07/03/08 8:53am
David Healy may have a chance to push his claims as a first-choice Fulham forward tomorrow - in the absence of Jari Litmanen.
The Cottagers travel to Blackburn badly needing points in their relegation battle as time runs out.
Roy Hodgson's team's cause will not be helped by the unavailability of Litmanen, who is back in his native Finland having new insoles made for his boots to cure a muscle strain.
While Hodgson is left to bemoan the absence of the 37-year-old striker, opportunity knocks for Healy - who has been considered for a loan move as he struggles to catch his manager's eye.
Hodgson, hoping Litmanen will soon be fit again, said: "It is frustrating for him and it is frustrating for me because it would give me another element in the competition for places up front."
It means, however, that Healy could be back in the reckoning.
He has been linked with a loan move to a number of Championship clubs - but Hodgson has made it clear he wants to retain the former Leeds striker and has subsequently rebuffed any enquiries.
"Lots of people would like David and that is not surprising because he is a proven goalscorer," he said.
"There are teams in the Championship who are looking for promotion or to avoid relegation - but I would prefer to keep David with me.
"I have told him that and he is happy to stay with us, so I have turned down their inquiries."
As for Litmanen, the likelihood is that - if his trip to Finland is fruitful - he ought to be back to reclaim his place shortly.
"Jari has had Achilles and ankle operations and needs these insoles to correct certain movement in his ankles which, if it doesn't get corrected, brings about muscle strains," Hodgson explained.
"That's exactly what has happened - he has got a strain on the inside of his thigh that has come about because the new insoles that he thought were going to work didn't."