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Fulham's Kacaniklic recalled from Burnley to fill the gaps

Winger returns with immediate effect, but he could have returned merely to add depth rather than quality

Ben Hoskins

Alex Kacaniklic has been recalled by Martin Jol from his loan spell at Championship side Burnley, adding some much needed reinforcement to an ailing midfield department at Fulham.

The Swedish international had planned to stay in Lancashire until the end of the season but an injury crisis and, arguably, a dip in Fulham's form, has forced Jol's hand.

He will return with immediate effect, making him available for Saturday's league tie with Arsenal, though it is unlikely he will be placed directly into the starting eleven.

Ashkan Dejagah will miss the remainder of the season - a bitter blow, given his tremendous recent form - while Damien Duff is unlikely to be fit for the Gunners fixture, though his recovery has gone better than predicted.

It has left Urby Emanuelson and Bryan Ruiz holding fort, a mixture that didn't come to fruition against Chelsea on Wednesday evening, with Ruiz drifting inwards and leaving Sascha Riether exposed. It made for some particularly weak wing play and, with Riether being regularly left alone, the German made some uncharacteristic mistakes.

The recall is likely to be a precautionary measure, but Kerim Frei may be left wondering what he has to do to make the first team, especially now that Jol's midfield has been depleted by injury. Some will point to his inexperience, others to his lack of final product; both of which, Kacaniklic can provide.

As such, it's a move that makes sense. Inevitably, however, questions will be raised about Frei's future, with the young Turk attracting the interest of a persistent Galatasaray. If the winger's lack of game time continues, he could be tempted by the prospect.

But that shouldn't detract from the talents of Kacaniklic. He's technically capable with admirable ball control and, for someone of only 21 years of age, he has already hit the international stage and set a significant marker.

The only concern will be whether Jol retains enough faith in one of his most notable Fulham proteges. At a time when Kacaniklic was taking brilliant strides in SW6, the Dutchman allowed him to take step down - for a second time - to the Championship.

It came in the wake of the signings of Stanoslev Manolev and Emanuelson and it was every bit an admittance of his demotion in the ranks as it was an opportunity to play competitive football.

Now, though, Kacaniklic has an opportunity to leave an indelible mark on Jol and on Fulham. It is still possible that he won't even be given the chance but given our ever-thinning resources, Jol will have to call on the Swede eventually.

And then we will see just what he can bring to the table.