Fulham face an in-form Derby side on Saturday who travel to the Cottage looking for an 8th successive victory. It’ll be an extremely tough test for Slaviša’s men who will once again have to prove their credentials against a red hot side.
Tuesday night’s victory over Rotherham may have only been slender in scoreline but was a whitewash when it came down to statistics. A staggering 80% possession and 31 shots should have lead to more than two goals, but nonetheless it did enough to overcome a poor Rotherham team who already looked doomed.
Derby on the other hand are soaring, with Steve McLaren back at the helm he’s claimed 25 of the 30 points available to him. This has taken the Rams from 20th to 5th in the table in just under two months. McLaren was not a popular choice with his 2015 departure to Newcastle still fresh in the minds of fans. However, a transformation like this is enough to sway even the most ardent of critics.
Derby, like Rotherham, go into the game against Fulham on the back of a win against QPR. Tom Ince’s 86th minute goal was the difference on Wednesday evening at Loftus Road. Trips to South West London however aren’t generally as kind, as the East Midlands side haven’t won a league game at the Cottage since 1969. Last season ended all square with Craig Bryson’s rocket cancelling out a calamitous Marcus Ollson own goal.
Whilst Fulham games have been free-scoring of late, Derby fans quite haven’t experienced the same entertainment. Only two teams have scored fewer goals, and Brighton are the only side who equal their incredible defensive record of just 13 in 21 games. Alex Pearce and skipper Richard Keogh have built up an impressive partnership at centre-back and whoever replaces the ineligible Chris Martin up front will have their work cut out.
Their last 5 results:
- W: QPR 0-1 Derby
- W: Derby 3-0 Nottingham Forest
- W: Wigan 0-1 Derby
- W: Derby 1-0 Norwich
- W: Derby 3-0 Rotherham
Fulhamish’s Starting Line-Up:
The key decision for Slaviša is who replaces Chris Martin as he is ineligible against his parent side. Whilst Cauley Woodrow is an option, Matt Smith is a more natural replacement to fit the favoured 4-2-3-1 system. We expect Malone to come back into the team in place of Ryan Sessegnon.
This is very tough to call. Bookies make Fulham favourites which is quite the compliment given Derby’s exceptional run. Fulham are playing well too, but losing Chris Martin’s intelligent play is a blow. We’ll go for a score draw. 1-1.
Don’t forget to listen to this Monday’s episode of Fulhamish for all the reaction to this game and also Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Rotherham. Subscribe to the podcast on any of the following platforms (others are available):