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Cottagers put faith in Steadman

Dr Richard Steadman, the man once credited with saving the careers of Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, was today operating on Andy Johnson in a bid to rescue the Fulham striker's season.

Johnson was preparing for an exploratory operation on his troublesome knee injury last night as his Fulham team-mates snatched a 1-0 win over Premier League basement club Portsmouth.

The 28-year-old has only played 13 matches this season due to a series of injuries to his groin, collarbone and knee. Now the former England striker has been sent to world-renowned American surgeon Steadman as he bids to return to action before the end of the season.

Hodgson's striking options are limited due to injuries to Clint Dempsey and Zoltan Gera (both knee), and he is desperate for Johnson to return.

"He will have knee surgery in America, when they will go in and see what it is and then fix it," said Hodgson. "There is a risk that he will be out for the rest of the season, but there is also some optimism.

"However, the experience of our medical people think it might be (season-ending). I am disappointed in that, because I was still believing he was going to come back and it would not be that long.

"Now I may be looking at the rest of the season with a limited and inexperienced group of front players."

Fulham grabbed a win last night with 16 minutes left when Damien Duff capitalised on some poor defending from Nadir Belhadj to lay the ball to Jonathan Greening, who slotted past David James.

In truth it was harsh on Pompey, who had outplayed a jittery Fulham side, with both sides looking for their first league win since December 19.