Burnley continue to struggle with injury this pre-season as Robbie Brady suffered another setback in his recovery.
His expected absence should make it easier to predict who will start on the wings for them in Gameweek 1 but questions still remain over their goalkeeper situation.
Elsewhere, there was another stern warning for those invested in Ryan Sessegnon (£6.5m).
ATLETICO BILBAO 1-3 FULHAM | FULHAM 0-0 FIORENTINA
- Goals: Neeskens Kebano (£4.5m), Aboubakar Kamara (£4.5m), own-goal
- Assists: Jean Michaël Seri (£5.5m), Ryan Sessegnon (£6.5m)
The trio of goals scored against Atletico Bilbao ended a run of three goalless matches for Fulham as Ryan Sessegnon (£6.5m) finally involved himself in attacking returns this summer. It was his cross that Yeray Álvarez directed into his own net towards the end of the first of two Cup of Traditions matches. However, there was further confirmation that Sessegnon offers much less in terms of attacking potential when playing at left-back. He was used there in the second match of the afternoon, for the second time in pre-season, and had little influence on the game. The 12.1 percent of Fantasy managers who currently own the 18-year-old should make themselves aware of that and keep an eye on new signing Maxime Le Marchand (£4.5m) – any injury or suspension to him could force Sessegnon back into defence this season.
These two matches saw new signing Fabri (£4.5m) make his first appearances in goal, and give us a chance to see whether he could take the number one jersey from Marcus Bettinelli (£4.5m) this season. Of particular note was the former Besiktas man’s distribution, able to easily find his full-backs and get play moving well from the back. According to local press, this is an area that Bettinelli has struggled with in the past which could hand the advantage to Fabri, who also has experience of playing Champions League football too.
In front of him in the first match, we saw Le Marchand, Tim Ream (£4.5m), Denis Odoi (£4.5m) and Cyrus Christie (£4.5m) line up as the back-four for the third time in pre-season. No other combination has been used as often by Slaviša Jokanović during the summer, suggesting – barring any further recruitment – they will start at Craven Cottage when Crystal Palace come to visit on August 11.
Neeskens Kebano (£4.5m) has done his chances of featuring from the beginning in that match no harm after a decent display in these friendlies. The DR Congo international faces competition for a start on the flanks of the front-three from Sessegnon and Andre Schürrle (£6.0m), who made his first appearance for Fulham against Fiorentina, but is currently the club’s top-scorer in pre-season and with more minutes in the bank than Schürrle. However, the German World Cup winner reportedly impressed in his 45-minute spell in the Cup of Traditions final and, as the new signing, is expected to also be in with a strong shout of starting Gameweek 1.
FULHAM XI vs BILBAO (4-3-3): Fabri; Le Marchand, Odoi, Ream, Christie; Johansen, Seri, Cairney; Sessegnon, Kamara, Kebano.
FULHAM XI vs FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Fabri; Sessegnon, Odoi, Ream, Christie; McDonald, Johansen, Seri; Kebano, Kamara, Schürrle.
BURNLEY 0-0 MONTPELIER
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
Robbie Brady’s (£5.5m) recovery from injury hit a setback in Burnley’s latest pre-season match, a 0-0 draw with Montpelier. The former Hull City man has been on his way back from a knee injury sustained in December but was forced off with a hamstring problem just before half-time on Sunday. Manager Sean Dyche has sought to ease fears that Brady will be on the sidelines for some time, which should be of interest to Fantasy managers aware of the Irishman’s potential this season.
“It was a very minor thing in his hamstring so we took him off immediately. He’s been out for a while, so we don’t want any secondary injuries if we can help it.” – Sean Dyche
Regardless of how much of a setback this proves to be for Brady, his withdrawal strengthens the case for investment in either Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£6.om) or Aaron Lennon (£5.0m) – the two wingers who started against Aberdeen last week. The Icelandic international has one goal to his name in pre-season and is the key man for set-pieces while Lennon has found the net twice so far this summer and is £1.0m cheaper.
Burnley are still waiting on an update on Nick Pope’s (£5.0m) dislocated shoulder, with him having seen a specialist this week. With Tom Heaton (£5.0m) carrying a calf strain, the prospects of the Clarets’ defence are somewhat up in the air. There is no return date set for either him or Pope yet with Anders Lindegaard the most likely stand-in so far. It may be difficult to invest in £5.0m defenders like James Tarkowski or Ben Mee if there are doubts over the man between the sticks.
“The shoulder joint definitely came out and (went) back in so it just depends on the damage along the way. We’ll see what the specialist says tomorrow. When you look at the incident it was a freaky incident. I’ve seen the stills and it is just a freak moment in a game. It went back in pretty quick, so it depends on the disruption in the shoulder. We’ll find out more tomorrow.” – Sean Dyche
Jeff Hendrick (£5.5m) was the only member of the starting XI that faced Aberdeen to feature from the beginning in this match, as Dyche largely used either second-string options or players on their return from injury problems. Ashley Barnes (£6.0m) was one of the latter, his involvement against Montpelier the first since the opening match of pre-season. The former Plymouth Argyle striker managed 60 minutes before being replaced by Nakhi Wells (£4.5m). Sam Vokes (£5.5m) started alongside him after coming off the bench to equalise for Burnley at Pittodrie.
BURNLEY XI (4-4-2): Legzdins; Taylor, Dunne, Long, Bardsley; Brady (McNeil 42’), Hendrick (Goodridge 60’), O’Neill, Walters; Barnes (Wells 60’), Vokes (Agyei 70’).
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