Fulham striker Mladen Petric bemoans lack of first-team opportunities

Petric joined Fulham on a free transfer from Hamburg. Photo: PA

Fulham striker Mladen Petric admits he has been left frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities, but has vowed to claw his way back into Martin Jol's plans.

The 32-year-old moved to Craven Cottage on a free transfer during the summer but soon fell down the pecking order when Jol moved to sign former Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov.

Despite scoring twice in the opening day Barclays Premier League win over Norwich, Petric has hit the back of the net just three times since but the former Hamburg man is determined to work his way back into the Fulham side.

"From the beginning of the season I was hoping to play more but I didn't so we will see," he said.

"I always try to give my best when I come in and in the end the gaffer is the man who decides so we will see what happens.

"I'm very happy to be here and everything is fine, it is just the fact I'm on the bench and I would like to play more."

Jol prefers to play just one striker in his current system and often picks Berbatov in front of Petric.

The two played together in the 3-0 defeat against Tottenham back in December and Petric believes they could easily fit into the team as a partnership

"Of course I think we can play together," he added. "We played together against Tottenham and, for me, that was one of the best performances in the first 60 minutes so we showed that we can do that."

Petric, who is currently battling with Hugo Rodallega to play in place of the injured Berbatov in Saturday's clash with Norwich, scored on his return to the Croatia national side as they beat South Korea 4-0 at Craven Cottage.

Without a cap since March 2011, Petric came off the bench to add a well-taken fourth goal and admitted it was a strange feeling to turn out for his country at his home ground.

"It was a strange feeling," he said.

"I had to change in the guest's dressing room but it was nice to have a game here, it was like a home game.

"It (the goal) was nice, I was very happy to score in my comeback game, I've been waiting almost two years for that and for a striker it is always nice to score."

After the midweek international break focus will again fall on the weekend's Premier League fixtures.

Fulham halted a bad run of form with a much-needed victory over West Ham last week and are now seven points clear of the relegation zone with 28 points.

Saturday's opponents Norwich have amassed the same number of points at the Cottagers and Petric believes more wins are needed to secure top-flight safety.

"I think we still need some points," he said. "The game against West Ham was very important for us and I think we need three or four more wins and then we are clear."