Pogrebnyak ‘risk' paying off

Cottagers boss Martin Jol swooped for the Russia striker on transfer deadline day after selling Bobby Zamora to London rivals QPR.

Martin Jol has admitted the signing of Pavel Pogrebnyak was something of a gamble but the move is already paying dividends for Fulham. Cottagers boss Jol swooped for the Russia striker on transfer deadline day after selling Bobby Zamora to London rivals QPR.

Pogrebnyak had lost his way at German club Stuttgart, so Jol offered the 28-year-old an opportunity to re-launch his career in the Barclays English Premier League.

And that already looks to be a shrewd move, with the former Zenit St. Petersburg player scoring on his debut against Stoke and then netting the winner at QPR.

Dutchman Jol said: “It was a risk (to sign Pogrebnyak) but after the first training session he scored a hat-trick in 10 minutes. Before, he scored one in two in his own country and he has 45 caps. But Stuttgart had four or five strikers and when he wasn't playing well they took him off. I told him you will play games here and that's what he needs. He's a real number nine. These players from abroad sometimes need weeks, maybe months to settle in, so to see what Pavel's doing is very good.”

Pogrebnyak, a UEFA Cup winner with Zenit in 2008, came highly recommended and Jol believes he is proving to be a more than adequate replacement for Zamora.

The former Tottenham boss added: “We saw from the first day he came, Pavel is a good player. He has good quality, a good boy and that is exactly the information I had on him from the two Dutch coaches that worked with him at Russia, Dick Advocaat and Guus Hiddink. We are very pleased he came in after selling Bobby Zamora.”

Pogrebnyak admitted after the victory at QPR that he is still adapting to the pace of the EPL, but he is delighted with the impact he has made since joining the Cottagers. “I haven't been this exhausted for a long time. The match (against QPR) was very intense, hardly any pauses. Tough challenges and big powerful defenders are difficult to adjust to, initially.”

Pogrebnyak added: “I am in a great mood, of course. I never expected to get off to such a good start. Hopefully my form will continue.”

Pogrebnyak's move to Craven Cottage was overshadowed by more high-profile signings for bigger transfer fees on deadline day, but few have made a bigger impression than the Russian frontman.

It is often said that managers need to be prepared to spend big money to sign goal-scorers, but Jol has proved that is not necessarily the case.

And with a few more games under his belt in order to build up his match fitness and become more accustomed to the demands of the EPL, Pogrebnyak could prove to be one of the signings of the season.

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