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Scott Parker confident of ‘big influence’ despite being unable to attend match

Fulham v Brentford – Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final – Wembley Stadium
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Scott Parker insists he will still have a “big influence” despite being unable to take his place in the Fulham dugout for the Boxing Day clash with Southampton after a member of his household tested positive for Covid-19.

The Fulham manager returned a negative test but has been self-isolating this week, away from the member of his household who tested positive, in accordance with the government guidelines.

“I’m feeling well…obviously due to the guidelines I’ve had to self-isolate myself, so there’s no denying I’m disappointed,” Parker said.

“The family member is fine and is on the mend, but obviously for me now I’m self-isolating and doing things from the distance of the room really.”

Not being able to attend the match inevitably means Parker’s ability to direct matters and impact proceedings as he normally would from the touchline will be affected.

However, he says he will still be able to see plenty of the action and will remain in constant contact with his “great” coaching staff on Boxing Day, allowing him to maintain a large degree of control – even if he accepts it is not as good as being there in the flesh.

“Of course I’ll do all I can from home really. I’ll be in constant dialogue and I’ll have a main feed going into the dugout,” he said.

“I’ll have a laptop and screens that have a lot of different angles of how we see the game or how I see the game, so I’ll be in constant dialogue with how I see things.

“Is that going to be as good as being live and around it? Of course not, but that’s the predicament that I’m in at this present moment in time, but no doubt I’ve got great coaches and a great staff who will take the reins more personally there but also I can have a big influence from where I am.”

Assistant manager Stuart Gray and first-team coach Matt Wells will take charge of the Cottagers, while Parker could return for Fulham’s trip to Tottenham on December 30, subject to providing a further negative test result.

Having already been separated from his team during the first lockdown in March, the manager said there were similarities to his current situation.

“It’s very similar. Obviously I think the lockdown period gave us some ideas of how to coach from afar, although this time it is a little bit different because we’re in competition at this present moment in time,” Parker said.

“Last time we weren’t in competition, although we were keeping other players active and trying to keep them fit for what was the remainder of an important season.

“But this moment, this is real competition and we have a Premier League game on Saturday which obviously I’m not going to be able to take part in, or this week’s training leading into it.

“So look we’re doing everything we can.

“I’ve got everything set up, I’m in constant dialogue with my staff, got an unbelievable team around me – you probably expect me to say that but it’s the truth – and have been working with me for a long time, and also the players to be honest, so I know they’re in good hands and obviously I’m maintaining constant communication with everyone really.”