MAHAMADOU Diarra could feature in Sunday's televised clash with Wolves at Craven Cottage, Martin Jol has said – but the Dutchman insists his newest recruit has nothing to prove.
The 30-year-old former Real Madrid midfielder (pictured) who won two titles in four seasons at the Bernabeu and was also a French league winner with Lyon, has been out of contract since playing for Monaco last season, but is 'quite fit' according to Jol after training with old club Lyon.
“It was the only thing I didn't tell him and I think that was the main reason that he came over,” Jol said in dismissing any suggestion he has told the Malian he is on probation.
“If you start telling players like that that they have to prove a thing and that you need to have a look at them and invite them for a couple of weeks, then it's not the trick. The trick is to get the information: Is he fit? And that is the information that I had.
“Of course we had a little look at him, but he wasn't even aware of that and he's been here now for the last two weeks – then he went back for his work permit and everything is fine. Maybe he will be involved on Sunday.
“He was a very good player with Fabio Capello. He turned a few smaller clubs down – smaller than Real Madrid - and I was happy that he didn't turn us down.”
The only international missing in training today (Friday), was Dickson Etuhu, who was on his way back from Nigeria and will be assessed ahead of the game.
Stephen Kelly is doubtful with a muscle injury and Steve Sidwell remains sidelined for at least another two weeks.
Jol insists he is still looking to cross the 40-point safety threshold before looking further ahead, because last year, teams in trouble wriggled out of danger.
“In the Premier League, you never know,” he said. “But if we can play to our strengths on Sunday, score the goals at the right moment, I hope that we can use our home advantage.”