Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez admits they've missed the influence of captain Brian McBride.

"I always knew that Brian would be a big miss," Sanchez told fulhamfc.com. "You try and pencil in dates for a player's recovery and we are targeting the 22nd of December for him to be available for selection.

"I think English football has to be played with a big centre forward. In Kenwyne JonesSunderland seem to have shown that. You need an aerial presence; all the top teams have that. Brian is one of the best in the Premier League and it's been a hard gap to fill.

"David Healy had formed a reasonably good relationship with Brian. They played with each other at Preston so they knew each other. David Healy does need someone to play with because he's not going to win the aerial challenges but if he plays off a big front man, and he certainly does that with Northern Ireland, it benefits his game tremendously.

"Once Brian went, we didn't have a target man. Clint [Dempsey], to be fair to him, has had a go at it and has done well. But we can't afford to miss players of Brian's quality - that's why the front two have been mixed and matched all season since then."