Fulham's Martin Jol denies rift between him and Bobby Zamora

Martin Jol has warned Bobby Zamora he is no longer the "No1" striker in the Fulham attack but denied there is any rift between the pair.

The England forward has recovered from the knee injury that ruled him out of the 2-0 win against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday and although he is available for selection against Manchester United on Wednesday evening, Zamora appears to have fallen out of favour at Craven Cottage of late.

Asked if Zamora would be in his strongest lineup when all his forwards are fit, Jol said: "He was at the start of the last match but he was not fit so I had to play Andy Johnson, which in hindsight was a good decision. It would be silly when you've got 21 players to say: 'This is my best team.' I can remember games when we played with certain players and I thought: 'It would have been better to start with somebody else.' And the next week it was different. That is football. You have to work hard and have a good mentality, that's important."

Zamora, who is a regular in Fabio Capello's England squad, has previously been Fulham's main striker when fit. But asked if the 30-year-old was happy now competing with Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembélé, Jol said: "You don't know all the team formations. There are a lot of other players – [Eidur] Gudjohnsen, [Zoltan] Gera and [Diomansy] Kamara – and I don't think you could say: 'That was our strike force'

"How many times did Bobby play with Andy Johnson in the last three or four years? Six or seven times. Even if you would like to start with a certain forward line you have to change it week by week, almost. Bobby is fit to be in the squad [against United] so we will make a decision on the team tonight."

Regarding whether there is a problem between him and Zamora after he had previously been left out of the squad that played at Swansea City on 10 December Jol said: "There is no rift. Bobby is Bobby and he'll always have that. He was fine yesterday, he trained yesterday with all the players who didn't start [on Saturday], including Aaron Hughes. Today, everybody was there so we played a team tactical session, 11 v 11. It's the same group but the other group who started against Bolton joined. He was involved. The only time he was not involved is if he's got an injury. Then we exclude him."

Jol said he does not think Zamora may move on in next month's transfer window. "I'm not concerned. For me it's not a big problem. I'm only concerned that this sort of thing is coming up all the time [in the media]. I don't know but for me there is no problem."

Fulham have enjoyed a good record against United at Craven Cottage in recent years. "We had a 3-0 win [in December 2009] and a 2-2 draw [last season] so we seem to do well against them," said Jol, who did not mention a 2-0 win in March 2009. "I think it could be coincidence but it could be our style as well."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jamie Jackson, for The Guardian on Tuesday 20th December 2011 23.00 Europe/London

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