Tuesday’s crushing last-gasp disappointment means that Fulham remain outside the playoff places, but that will change if the Whites can return to winning ways against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
Jokanovic’s Fulham side looked lethargic in the last 30 minutes against Blackburn Rovers, and paid the price when on-loan Sheffield Wednesday striker Lucas Joao bundled home with virtually the last kick of the game to deny Fulham all three points and a leapfrog of the Portuguese striker’s parent club.
That said, Fulham remain one point behind Wednesday and the playoffs, and with the Owls playing 5th place Reading on Friday night, there will be a top six spot waiting for Fulham should they see off the challenge of Wolves, no matter how that game ends.
Leeds United play Brighton at the same time, and with Brighton looking to keep pace with league leaders Newcastle United, a slip up for the Yorkshire side will see a conglomeration of four sides on very similar points from 4th to 7th.
There’s no guarantee of victory for Fulham here, however, and with the reverse fixture in mind, Wolves have the potential to cause serious problems to the Whites defence.
Wolves find themselves scrapping at the bottom of the table, having fallen away from a good start under Paul Lambert, but Tuesday night’s dominant win at Brentford showcased just how good the men from the Black Country can be at the top of their game.
The pace and poise of Helder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro are able to cause problems down either flank, and the midfield dynamism of Dave Edwards is something that Fulham know only too well. Fulham’s full-backs will need their wits about them if the Whites are to take all three points and the play-off spot which the fans crave so desperately.
Richard Stearman has done well on his return to Wolves this season, and it’s some relief that his inability to play against the Whites means that there should be some consternation in their back line.
The ability of fullbacks Matt Doherty and Dominic Iorfa is something to keep an eye on, with Doherty in particular impressing this year in both an offensive and defensive sense.
Their last 5 league results:
- W: Brentford 1-2 Wolves
- W: Wolves 1-0 Rotherham United
- D: Ipswich Town 0-0 Wolves
- L: Reading 2-1 Wolves
- L: Wolves 1-2 Birmingham City
Fulhamish’s Starting Line-Up:
Whilst fatigue was definitely setting in on Tuesday, a good break on Wednesday and Thursday morning should have allowed most of the lads to recover fully. We’re opting for giving Cyriac a first full start at the top after his goal on Tuesday evening, and returning Michael Madl to the heart of defence in place of Tim Ream; as well as putting Denis Odoi in at right back after a couple of poor performances from Fredericks.
Kevin McDonald v Dave Edwards
KMac has been Fulham’s quiet man this season, doing the business at the base of the midfield with minimal fuss and maximum efficiency, but he’ll be tested to the limit in this game by former midfield partner Dave Edwards. The late runs into the box have become the trademark of the Welsh midfielder, and if Fulham can shut him down and close these off, Wolves will lack an element to their attacking threat. A huge battle to be had in centre midfield then, and the winner will have a huge say in how the game turns out.
Fulham made things difficult on Tuesday night, but we expect stern words from the gaffer and a decent rest will have replenished the gas tank, and the Whites to be extremely up for it on Saturday afternoon. They’ll need it. If Fulham come out firing though, we can see this as a 2-0 Whites victory.
Don’t forget to listen to Monday’s episode of Fulhamish for all the reaction to this game and Tuesday’s game against Blackburn. Subscribe to the podcast on any of the following platforms (others are available):