It’s back to League action for the Whites after Sunday’s FA Cup disappointment, and Slavisa’s side need to really kick on after a number of results went Fulham’s way both at the weekend, and on Tuesday night.
Bristol City are on an abhorrent run, with only 1 win in their last 17 games – and that being against bottom side Rotherham United, but their performances haven’t been quite as bad as the results have suggested.
They’ve held Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County to draws over the last few weeks, and should have beaten Derby, as they went in at half-time 3-0 up. That soft core, however, has been exposed and their poor run is clearly having a knock-on affect on their confidence.
At the start of the season, City beat the Whites twice in a week, 2-1 in the League Cup and a comprehensive 4-0 battering in the League; but this side is a far different prospect to the one that gave Fulham nightmares.
Only 2 or 3 of the players who played that day will start tonight, with the most notable absentee being talismanic striker Tammy Abraham, who limped off at Leeds with another injury, right after getting himself back to fitness. The on-loan Chelsea man has been prolific for City this year, and his absence up front will be keenly felt.
Fulham too will be a changed side from that defeat, with Kalas returned to the Starting XI and the double-axis issue of McDonald and Parker being solved by the introduction of box-to-box Stefan Johansen a few games after that defeat. Cairney’s centralisation in the attacking triumvirate had not yet happened either, and that has provided the Whites with a creative fulcrum from October onwards.
All in all then, a winnable game for Fulham, who must capitalise on the slip-ups by Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich and Reading if they are to have any hope of catching the play-off contenders.
Their last 5 league results:
- L: Leeds United 2-1 Bristol City
- D: Derby County 3-3 Bristol City
- W: Bristol City 1-0 Rotherham United
- D: Bristol City 2-2 Sheffield Wednesday
- L: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Bristol City
Fulhamish’s Starting Line-Up:
We’re desperate to see a recall for Chris Martin up front, as the on-loan man offers a hold-up play which is essential to the flowing football we’ve seen at points this season. Soné Aluko gets a well-earned rest, and Piazon takes his place. We’d like to see Ryan Sessegnon start at left-back and to see Michael Madl partner Kalas in the middle, although this is doubtful, seeing as Slavisa hasn’t plumped for the pair since the early days of the season. Ryan Fredericks returns from suspension and will probably slot back in, although we feel Denis Odoi has done much to improve his own position in the last three games, and we’d be happy with either of our right backs getting a go.
David Cotterill v Ryan Fredericks
The former Birmingham City winger is a seasoned warrior and knows exactly how to frustrate, harry and beat teams in the Championship, as well as popping up with important goals across the years. Now into the autumn of his career, he has returned to his first club on loan, and has slotted straight into Johnson’s side. Fredericks is fresh back from suspension, and is expected to return tonight ahead of Denis Odoi, who has been excellent in the No2’s absence, but the searing pace that Fredericks offers down the right and his combination work with Cairney gives Fulham another dimension that often opposition cannot deal with. If Fredericks can nullify Cotterill, and make sure he’s the one giving his opposite man defensive headaches, then Fulham will surely be in the ascendancy.
City’s devastatingly bad run has been harder on the Robins than could be inferred from their points totals, but their soft core has been exposed by events such as throwing away a 3-0 lead against Derby County. Without Abraham, they won’t offer so much of a threat, and Fulham will feel this is an opportunity ripe for revenge. We’re going for 2-0 to the Whites.
Don’t forget to listen to Monday’s episode of Fulhamish for all the reaction to this game and also the trip down the road to Cardiff. Subscribe to the podcast on any of the following platforms (others are available):