Irish international Damien Duff is in a battle to regain his fitness for Fulham's Europa Cup final against Atletico Madrid in Hamburg next Wednesday.

Duff was hauled off at halftime in Fulham's Premier League game against Stoke City during the week.

"We think one of Damien Duff's muscles was cramping up,” said Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, who is widely tipped to get England's Manager of the Year award for his work with the London team.

“That was a blow of course. We hope it's not too serious. I hope he'll be fit for the final. The medical staff don't think it's a muscle tear or anything like that.”

The Irish winger has been an integral part of the Cottagers' phenomenal run the final, and manager Ray Hodgson is hopeful his talisman can take his place on the team.

Duff has enjoyed a career resurgence at Fulham and teaming up with Hodgson (the two worked together at Blackburn in the 90s) has played had a significant part in that return to form.

Fulham's US international, Clint Dempsey, has also played well in the competition after returning from a knee injury. He will become the first American to play in a European Final if he gets game time next week.


Damien Duff