Football - Ruiz aiming high

Bryan Ruiz has set his sights on helping Fulham equal their highest-ever finish of seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

PA Sport

The Cottagers head to Newcastle on Sunday knowing a draw will bring them to the all-important 40-point mark with seven games to spare.

A mid-season slump had led to fears that Fulham could be dragged in to their first relegation battle in many a year, but outstanding performances from Mark Schwarzer, Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov mean Martin Jol's men now have their eyes trained on the top half of the table rather than the bottom.

And a recent five-match unbeaten run has propelled Fulham up to 10th in the table.

Roy Hodgson guided Fulham to their record highest finish of seventh in 2010, and with just nine points separating the Londoners and the current occupants of that position - Liverpool - Ruiz thinks he and his team-mates could equal that achievement this term.

Speaking ahead of the trip to Newcastle on Sunday, the Costa Rican said: "We really want to win on Sunday as it will put us in a very good position to try and catch ninth, eighth, or even seventh place."

In years gone by Newcastle-Fulham would have been seen as a home banker due to the Magpies' strength at St James' Park, and the Cottagers' poor away record.

This season has been a different story, however. Fulham have shaken off their away-day blues and Newcastle sit just three points above the relegation zone after a disappointing season.

Ruiz is wary of the damage that the likes Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse can do, however, and he thinks it would be foolish to underestimate a team who have reached the last eight of the Europa League this season in spite of their domestic troubles.

"Newcastle are doing well in the Europa League which shows they are a good team," added Ruiz on Fulham's website. "They had a bad period this season but they still have some very good players and we'll need to take care of them. It's going to be a very difficult game as Newcastle really need the points. But they have the pressure; they need to win. We are playing well so if we do the things we've been doing, then we will be fine and can play with no pressure."

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