Diomansy Kamara says the memory of last season's dramatic run-in - and the part he played - has spurred him on to get back to fitness.

Kamara has been missing since those heady wins at Man City - where he scored two vital goals - and at Pompey when Fulham made their great escape.

He picked up a cruciate ligament injury playing for Senegal against Liberia soon after that and has faced some intense rehabilitation after undergoing recontructive surgery on his knee.

But all the effort has been worthwhile. He is back in full training and only weeks away from being available for first team action.

"Those matches will be on my mind for the rest of my life because they were just incredible days for us," Kamara told the Gazette.

"While I was getting over my injury, I was thinking about those games and it made me determined to come back.

"I'm so happy because it's been a long time now. It's been seven months, but I'm getting fit now and I hope to play soon. I will need one or two reserve games first to get more strength in my legs, but my dream is to be in the squad for the game against West Brom.

"That would be nice because it's my old team and it would be a big match for me and Fulham. But I don't know if I will be quite ready."

Kamara says feeling wanted has also helped in his recovery. He said: "I'm so happy that the manager helped me a lot during my injury.

"He kept checking on my progress and gave me a lot of encouragement and that's so important because when you have an injury like this, it's never easy. I'm lucky that the people at the club have stayed behind me and I want to repay this affection by scoring some goals in the last few months of the season."

Kamara says he will be returning a far better team than the one he last played in.

"The team is much better than last year," he said.

"We are maybe more stable, with some better players and we've had some big wins against teams like Arsenal, Newcastle, Tottenham.

"I think the mentality is different too. Everybody trains properly and it's more professional.

"Our only problem is that we aren't winning away and we maybe need a stronger personality to win away, but overall, the mentality is still different. Everybody is happy and everybody is pulling the same way.

"I think the team is playing well and hopefully we can carry on this weekend and go to the next round of the FA Cup, because in that competition, we have been doing well away."

Hodgson himself is relieved that he will soon have four recognised strikers - perhaps accepting that the Zamora-Johnson axis which has served him so well so far may need freshening up with more contributions from Nevland and Kamara.

"All of a sudden he's back in training [Kamara] and it's another player for us," Hodgson said. "I regard that as a tremendous bonus and it's in that area that I was anxious to find cover.

"I wanted another front player at the club and I was worried that kamara would not feature too much. But from what I've seen so far, that was an unnecessary fear because it looks like he's going to be back in with us and we'll have a fourth front player.

"Just having the three would have put enormous pressure on those three players."

Next Up


Liberty Stadium Saturday 12.45pm FA Cup 5th rd

Manager: Roberto Martinez Position last season: 1st Lge One Form Guide: The Swans are knocking on the door of the play-off zone after going unbeaten in 15 matches since a 3-2 home defeat by Birmingham in November - even if nine of those have been draws. They have lost only five league games so far and that Birmingham loss is the only home reverse. They knocked out holders Portsmouth (2-0 away) in the last round of the cup and overcame nonleague Histon away (2-1) in the third round.

Players to look out for: Former Brentford midfielder Darren Pratley has been in great form. 

Most recent meetings: Fulham 2-1 Swansea City (11 Feb 1997); Swansea City 1-2 Fulham (14 Sep 1996) - League Two; Fulham 7-0 Swansea City (11 Nov 1997) - FA Cup. Head-to-head record: SC Wins: 19 FFC Wins: 29 Draws: 9 

Match Facts: In the one previous meeting between the sides in the FA Cup 13 years ago, the Whites thrashed the Swans 7-0,with Mike Conroy bagging a hat-trick. Conroy was also on target in the last league clash between the sides in wales - a 2-1 win for Fulham at the old Vetch Field stadium 12 and a half years ago. Simon Morgan also scored that day. 

Forecast: The Swans can make it tough for Fulham. A draw with a replay at the Cottage would not be a bad result for the Whites.

In Midweek


Old Trafford Wednesday 8pm Premier League

Manager: Alex Ferguson Position last season: Champions Form Guide: Untouchable and heading for a hat-trick of Premier League titles. Edwin Van der Sar has set a new league record of 13 games without conceding a goal. They have not conceded since the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal in early November after Sunday's 1-0 win at West Ham. Players to look out for: Ryan Giggs and Ronaldo always seem to score against Fulham,but there are danger men lurking everywhere - including Vidic at corners. 

 Most recent meetings: Fulham 0-3 Man U (1 Mar 2008); Man U 2-0 Fulham (3 Dec 2007) - Premier League. Head-to-head record: MU Wins: 39 FFC Wins: 11 Draws: 15

Match Facts: Fulham have lost their last seven clashes with United, and have no wins in 10. In seven seasons of Premier League clashes, the only Whites win - home or away - was that famous 3-1 triumph at Old Trafford in October 2003. They have lost the other six matches in Manchester. [25a0] Forecast: Fulham frustrated Liverpool and Aston Villa on their travels but United are a different proposition. They have been bagging plenty of 1-0 wins and another would be no surprise.

Gazetteforecast success rate: 13 correct out of 26 (50%).