Fulham manager Chris Coleman will put his friendship with Gareth Southgate to one side for 90 minutes today when Fulham play Middlesbrough. The Smoggies will leapfrog Fulham if they win at Craven Cottage.

Fulham’s run of four defeats in the last five games has seen them slip to 15th place in the Premiership from a season’s high of seventh only a few weeks ago.

Their depleted squad was further weakened when skipper Luis Boa Morte, fellow midfielder Papa Bouba Diop and defender Ian Pearce joined their already long casualty list following last weekend’s 4-0 setback at Liverpool.

“If Middlesbrough win they go above us so this is a big game. It’s so tight this season,” acknowledged Coleman, who hopes to have goalkeeper Antti Niemi and former Boro defender Franck Queudrue back from injury.

Coleman added: “We’ve just had a bad run of games, our worst run this season but, rather than getting down about it, you are always looking at the positives.

“We can’t keep harping on about Liverpool and losing 4-0 because we can’t do anything about that .

“The teams below us are having their good runs so we just have to put another good run together because they’ll hit another sticky patch and that’s when we can capitalise.”