Fulham manager Chris Coleman is desperate for the victory which would save his side from the unwanted stigma of going through a Premiership season without an away win.
With just seven away games to go the pressure is mounting and Fulham face a difficult task against a Manchester United side smarting from Wednesday night’s 4-3 defeat at Blackburn.
But Coleman denies Blackburn boss Mark Hughes, his former Welsh international team-mate, has done him a favour by undermining United with the midweek victory over Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
“I’ve known Mark for 20 years and he’s never done me a favour,” joked Coleman, before insisting that United’s setback makes no difference to the size of the job facing his players.
“If United had beaten Blackburn they would have been in a good stride, playing with confidence. But they lost so are we going to get the backlash?
“It doesn’t make any difference. It’s going to be a tough game against one of the best clubs in the world, simple as that,” said Coleman who has a good reason to look back favourably on visiting Old Trafford.
In his first season – as the youngest boss in the Premiership – his side pulled off a 3-1 away victory over United.
Coleman, who hands a debut to £2million midweek signing Michael Brown, would be delighted with a repeat to end his side’s disappointing away run.
“It wasn’t a smash and grab either. We played very, very well. Of course, if we can match that then great but our away form has not been great,” he admitted.
A successful home run has pulled Fulham from the brink of the relegation zone to mid-table respectability but Coleman knows the improvement in their position would be accelerated if only they could start winning on their travels.
“We have seven games left and we have got to be looking at taking eight or nine points from those seven games.
“That means we have to win a couple of games and I know we are capable of it. We are capable of going to Old Trafford and pulling up a few trees but it won’t be easy regardless of their defeat at Blackburn,” he said.
The manager is fully aware of the spiralling pressure on his players to break their away duck.
“A few games ago it was nagging at my mind and I think it was nagging at the players’ minds as well.
“We’ve come away from some games where we should have won and we’ve been frustrated. On the back of that frustration we’ve had a few disappointing away performances and they get even more frustrated and then there is even more pressure on them.
“Then to win home games there is more pressure on us because of our away form so it’s a good job we’ve won the games we have at home or we’d be in trouble.
“We have got to go and get a result away,” added Coleman, “but sometimes when you try too hard you don’t a performance as individuals or as a team because they are trying too hard.
“We’ve been winning some matches away from home and have lost our composure because, with 15 minutes to go, we can’t wait for the final whistle, lose our shape and have ended up drawing or losing. But we’re the only ones who can put it right.