Subs the key for Fulham

Mark Hughes will have a substitute’s bench with a point to prove on Saturday when his side take on Blackburn at Craven Cottage.

Striker Bobby Zamora returned from his horrific broken leg in the FA Cup defeat to Bolton two weeks ago, only to suffer a minor setback in training afterwards that forced him out of the 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Sunday.

Meanwhile, on-loan Gael Kakuta – the French prodigy that Chelsea worked so hard to sign – has featured for just 18 minutes since his arrival in the January window.

Both will be on the bench for the game against Steve Kean’s side but Hughes believes they could hold the key to a victory and Fulham’s Premier League survival.

“Bobby is training, it was only a setback, he went over on his ankle. He didn’t compromise the break that he had, it was just one of those things that happen time and time again on the training pitch,” Hughes said.

“He is happy where he is now, after a long time out, there were obviously times in that period when it was difficult for him but he has come through them.”

“We’ve got Bobby back basically, we know that because he is loud and shouting so we know he is positive in his own mind.”

Kakuta, on the other hand, has grown frustrated with the delayed start to his Fulham career after arriving from their local rivals with so much promise and expectation.

“It’s no reflection on Gael, he is going to be involved from now until the end of the season because every day on the training ground we see quality from him that we will need to unlock defences,” Hughes said.

“He is a little bit frustrated because he wasn’t able to play against Chelsea and he was cup-tied for the Bolton game, so he has kicked his heels for a number of weeks, but he is free and able to play and we hope to see a lot more of him.”

Another player Hughes has already seen a lot of but will be hoping is anonymous at the weekend is Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz, now on-loan at Blackburn, whom the Welshman signed while manager of both Blackburn and Manchester City.

“Roque is a good player,” Hughes added. “I think it is well documented how highly I think of him. I spent significant amounts of money on him. I spent probably all of Blackburn’s budget on him and a small part of Man City’s.”

“He is a good player and you just have to give him an opportunity and a run of games and then he will make an impact for you.”

Midfielder Steve Sidwell is sidelined for up to three weeks with a knee injury and defender Philippe Senderos is not ready to return from Achilles tendon and hamstring injuries