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Onus now on Dembele, admits Hughes

Published 12/09/2010

Moussa Dembele
Moussa Dembele

Mark Hughes hopes Fulham match-winner Moussa Dembele will fill the void left by Bobby Zamora's injury-enforced absence.

Zamora has been ruled out for four months after sustaining the break just above his right ankle in the 2-1 victory over Wolves on Saturday. The 29-year-old England striker, who was due to undergo surgery on Sunday, will face a longer lay-off if further damage to the ankle is discovered.

"We hope Moussa can get the goals - there's a big onus on him now that Bobby's gone," said Cottagers boss Hughes. "But it's a big ask, you can't just hang a hat on Moussa. He'll get good support from the guys around him and that will help him become the success we think he will be."

Fulham overcame his first-half departure to complete a last-gasp comeback victory sealed by Dembele's first Barclays Premier League goals.

The £5million summer signing from AZ Alkmaar has impressed since his arrival at Craven Cottage and now has a crucial role to play.

With Andy Johnson still several weeks from a first-team return following his battle with a knee injury and Zamora out for four months, Dembele has become a key player.

Hughes added: "The beauty of Moussa is that he can play in a number of positions. That's the attraction from my point of view because I like players who have that flexibility."

Dembele fired the equaliser against Wolves with a well directed, if tame, shot and then blasted an injury-time free-kick through the wall for the winner.

Hughes was aware of the 23-year-old when he was Manchester City manager and reacted immediately when he learnt of his availability.

"Moussa is always very positive, everything he does has a positive slant on it. That's the key to the way he plays," he said. "He can drive the game and is an intelligent footballer. I kept track of him because I've always been impressed with him."

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