I honestly didn’t know what to think in the aftermath of Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate. It is always a game that seems to favour the away side, but we know that fixtures against promotion rivals, with so much on the line often write their own history. My nerves were massively eased when Aleksandar Mitrovic stabbed home from a delightful Cyrus Christie cross after just 14 minutes, but I was put back on edge when Bobby Reid fired home a well worked effort later in the first half. Overall I guess a point was a fair result. Both teams had chances to win, and with the other teams around us dropping points as well, no ground has been lost in the play-off race, albeit the second automatic spot edged further away.
But as always with football, we don’t have time to mull over the past as attentions must quickly be placed upon tomorrow evenings kick-off against Championship leaders Wolves. Just a week after dispatching Aston Villa at the Cottage, the home side should be reasonably confident going into this one, even with Wolves undoubtedly being one of the best sides that the Championship has seen in recent years. During one of our poorest stints of the season they quite easily brushed us aside 2-0 in the reverse fixture, but Fulham are thankfully much stronger than they were back then. To be honest, when I was looking ahead to the ‘big-6’ of our season, the games against the teams around us one after each other, I thought that if we were able to pick up points against the other teams, then this would be the one that we could afford to drop points in. However, I think that we need to keep the momentum going as much as possible, and what better way to do this that beating the top side in the division?
Despite drawing two out of our last three games, Fulham are still the form side in the division and we haven’t lost at home in the league since Bristol City beat us on Halloween night. Wolves have drawn their last two games, including letting a 2-1 lead slip in injury time on Wednesday evening against Norwich. Results like that can knock the wind out of players and supporters alike so hopefully they will still be feeling the effects of that come Saturday. They will want to wrong the right, obviously, but they will now have to do it without key man Ruben Neves who got himself suspended for tomorrow’s game after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season against Norwich.
But Wolves still have enough danger men to keep us occupied in the likes of Helder Costa, Ivan Cavaleiro, Diogo Jota and Leo Bonatini. And even if we do manage to keep the attacking threat at bay, we will have to find a way through Wily Boly, who is on loan from Porto and one of the top defenders in the league, Barry Douglas, who is a danger man at both ends of the pitch and then John Ruddy, who has managed a league high of 17 clean sheets this season. It certainly won’t be easy.
However, I really do think that we can give anyone a game, and now that we have options at pretty much every part of the pitch, I think that we can play this in a number of different ways. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mitrovic kept his position up front given his goal from the other night but it’s the right wing spot that could go to any of Ayite, Piazon, Ojo or Kebano. I also think that Sessegnon could maybe do with a rest, given the fact that he is only 17 and has looked a tad out of the sorts in the past couple of games. Ream and Kalas should be back together, while time will tell whether Matt Target will get over his strain by 1730 tomorrow evening.
It will be a tough one, but I certainly wouldn’t be backing against something special happening again at the Cottage.