AMSTERDAM – After holding Clint Dempsey out of their weekend win at Sunderland due to a hamstring complaint, Fulham are hoping to have their top gun back in the holster for next week's visit from Liverpool.
Manager Mark Hughes did not wish to test fate with what can become a tricky nag, but expects the US star back in training after a short rest.
"Clint didn't travel to Sunderland due to a tight hamstring on Friday," Fulham press officer Carmelo Mifsud told MLSsoccer.com. "The manager did not want to risk him and therefore left him out as a precaution."
The Cottagers ensured Premier League safety with three games to spare by beating Sunderland and are also closing in on a UEFA Fair Play invite to next term's Europa League.
With the thought of July Europa League qualification matches looming, Dempsey had already asked the boss for a break at that time to recuperate from the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.
Dempsey’s next appearance will make it four straight seasons playing at least 40 competitive matches for the Cottagers. The Gold Cup will be his third straight summer on tournament duty for the US national team, following involved runs at the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.
"I haven't had much of a rest in the summer since I came to Fulham," Dempsey recently told reporters. "I do need a bit of break, hopefully the 17 to 19 days that’s normal to recharge the batteries. The Gold Cup is important for the USA and it's not due to end until June 26 or 28."
Still, the man they call Deuce on both sides of the Atlantic is already targeting another shot at UEFA glory after a runners-up finish at the 2010 Europa League final. He will certainly hope that his teammates can make light work of any rounds he may miss while on rest and relaxation.
"I would like to think we could do what we did in the past," declared Dempsey last week. "I don't think [the Europa League run] was a fluke. I think we have the quality here and hopefully we can show that."