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Diop set for pivotal Fulham role

Issa Diop is up for another big physical challenge on Friday night and is using the prolonged break to decide on how to handle a certain Aleksandar Mitrović.

Ironically, with the Hammers looking for strikers this summer, the Fulham front man has been mentioned by many as a possible target and seven goals in a struggling side plus six at Nations League level isn’t a bad return for the 24 year old.

Diop has been hugely impressive though in his first  season with the club and there’s a chance he could be reunited with his ‘regular ‘ defensive partner Fabian Balbuena for a game which could see the Irons move head of Everton and into ninth place.

With the Toffees at home to neighbours Liverpool on Sunday there’s a big chance they can remain there as the team looks to start an upwardly mobile last part of the season move.

Diop’s role in keeping Mitrovic quiet will be pivotal in a game the Hammers will be expected to win and he has explained his thinking ahead of the match to www.whufc.com.

He said: “Mitrovic is a big player. He’s a big, powerful striker, very strong and very good in aerial situations, so we need to be careful.

“I will work out how I can mark him on Friday night. I enjoy those physical battles with the strikers and not many will be as physical as Mitrovic. He uses his body really well, so I have to figure out how to get into good positions to stop him.”

About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon