Bryan Ruiz may not be able to participate on Thursday evening when FC Twente visit Craven Cottage, but he will undoubtedly have a lot to say about what his former club, and former Dutch champions, have to offer. 'A fair bit' would be a decent summary, but it does Twente little justice when you consider the extent of their rise from bland mediocrity to champions under Steve McLaren in 2010. The club, who hail from Enschede, were led on a path lavished with bankruptcy and Champions League humiliation, but McLaren, a man we English are all too familiar with, turned fortunes around at the club who continue to be highly regarded in their home country, finishing 2nd last season.
This season marks their latest escapade into the world of European football and, despite a consistent record of qualifying for the Champions League over recent years, football on the continent is not something Twente can claim to be good at. Their only notable foray into the starlight was a runners up medal in the UEFA Cup of 1975.
Relative European non-adventures will play little part in the outcome of Thursday night's game, however, and it is Twente's attacking threat that will pose the biggest problems for Jol and his men. Co Adriansse's side scored 65 goals in their 2010/11 league campaign - extravagant when matched to out paltry 49. However, as Bryan Ruiz can most assuredly testify, the Dutch game differs immensely from that of our own and for that reason alone, we should not over-estimate the threat they pose. Twente will attack with potency, but even with the likes of Ruiz cup-tied and Kasami still finding his feet, it's not ludicrous to predict Fulham claiming a first win in four games.
Twente have struggled for undeviating form of late, winning two and losing two of their last four games - a 5-1 away win over Heerenveen being a highlight. Fulham, in not-so-splendid contrast, have been found lacking with regards to fire-power. Two goals in fours games has not put any smiles on Hammersmith End faces.
Simon Davies is still absent through injury and will therefore join Bryan Ruiz from the sidelines for Fulham, while Adriansse's team have little to worry about team selection wise.
Predicted Line-Up: Schwarzer; Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Baird; Duff, Murphy, Sidwell, Dempsey; Dembele, Zamora
Score Prediction: Fulham 1 - 0 FC Twente