Berbatov to be rested for FA Cup replay

With Fulham's league form a concern Martin Jol is opting to keep Dimitar Berbatov fresh. Photo: PA

Dimitar Berbatov will sit out Fulham's FA Cup third round replay against Blackpool tonight as Martin Jol looks to rest some of his first team players ahead of their trip to Manchester City this weekend.

A run of one win in their last six games mean Fulham have fallen to 13th in the Barclays Premier League, just six points above the drop zone.

Although another defeat would dent morale even further, Jol knows the league is very much a priority for the London club and will therefore use the opportunity to rest Berbatov, who has played the last 16 games.

Jol also knows that even if Fulham overcome Blackpool, they are then likely to have to beat Manchester United to make it through to the fifth round, and will therefore rest a number of regulars in Lancashire tonight even though it could mean his team are knocked out of the cup.

"I was really happy to get a draw against Blackpool (in the initial third round tie) and then I saw the draw," the Fulham manager said.

"I try to play the best team all the time and I feel we need to change the team for Blackpool to give players like Berbatov, who have played all the matches, a rest.

"But I have to make a decision on that because I still feel, under the circumstances, it is very important to stay in the FA Cup.

"It is always nice to have an extra opportunity to stay in this wonderful competition."

Jol watched his team throw away a lead to come away with only a draw at home to Wigan and then highlighted the need to bring in new faces to his squad.

Jol has been linked with moves for Tom Huddlestone, Banel Nicolita and Jores Okore and he admits brining players in to Craven Cottage before the transfer window shuts is a big priority.

"We had a very good start to the season. We had a settled team before but I think we are a bit unsettled now," Jol said,

"We are the only team in the Premier League who have not found their feet in general.

"If you look at Wigan, they have a settled team. They bought two or three players in the first week of January and we haven't got that. We don't have a lot of money to spend."

The likes of Brede Hangeland, John Arne Riise and Damien Duff could also join Berbatov in sitting out tonight's game.

Mahamadou Diarra (knee) and Kerim Frei (pelvis) are likely to miss out while Steven Sidwell is a doubt with a hamstring injury.