Tomas Kalas is in contention to return for Fulham's FA Cup fifth-round meeting with London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday (19 February) following injury. The 23-year-old defender, currently on a season-long loan from Chelsea, has rejoined training and will hope to feature against Spurs at Craven Cottage.
Kalas has made 22 appearances since joining Fulham in July 2016, but missed back-to-back league victories over Wigan Athletic and Nottingham Forest due to a hip problem. While he has been passed fit to face Tottenham, Ryan Fredericks will remain absent as he serves the final match of a three-game ban. The impressive right-back was sent off for a reckless challenge on Craig Gardener during a 1-0 defeat to Birmingham City a fortnight ago.
"Ryan Fredericks is suspended," Whites boss Slavisa Jokanovic reiterated during his pre-match press conference. "The other players are available. Tomas Kalas worked with us today and is available."
Jokanovic also confirmed that reserve goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, who acts as backup to David Button for league matches, will start again this weekend having featured in previous cup wins against Cardiff City and Hull City. The 24-year-old made headlines in the fourth round after saving two Abel Hernandez penalties in the space of two minutes to help secure a dominant 4-1 win.
"I will choose the best XI for the game in front of us," the manager said. "It's one of the top Premier League teams & isn't a time to experiment."
He added: "It's a great opportunity, for myself, Fulham, my players, and the fans. We don't need any further motivation. This competition is famous for its surprises. It's a fantastic chance for us, and isn't a moment for us to surrender."
Tottenham make the short trip to Fulham just three days after labouring to an insipid 1-0 defeat against Gent in a Europa League last-32 first-leg clash. In lieu of that quick turnaround, Jokanovic believes that opposite number Mauricio Pochettino could give some of his key stars the afternoon off.
"I believe Spurs will rest some players. They won't experiment, but Pochettino has a quality squad."
Former Watford and Maccabi Tel Aviv manager Jokanovic, appointed as successor to Kit Symons in December 2015, has bounced back from a disappointing initial half-season in the job to put Fulham in the running for a possible play-off spot. The Serbian's 18-month contract is due to expire in the summer, although talks seem to be underway regarding a potential extension.
"I'm under contract and I am motivated to keep going and that's it," he said, according to getwestlondon. "We are talking about this right now. I am happy here and it's a great club and we need to be more successful than we are and that's it. This is part of the football business. I try and focus on my daily job."