Zat Knight is loving his new leadership role at Craven Cottage – and is looking forward to taking Fulham through a demanding festive programme.

The tall defender has been handed the captain’s armband in the absence of the injured Luis Boa Morte and led Fulham to a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough on Monday.

“I’m the longest-serving player at Fulham, and getting the armband with Boa Morte out has given me that extra bit of responsibility,” he said. “But I’m enjoying that and I’m looking forward to leading the team over Christmas.”

Knight is backing Fulham to deliver over Christmas despite the club still missing several first-team regulars.

“It will be tough without guys like Papa Bouba Diop and Luis Boa Morte but that’s what a squad is about. We have guys playing out of position like Moritz Volz and Carlos Bocanegra but they have shown a real hunger. Maybe that’s a blessing for us because it’s exactly what we’ll need over the next few weeks.”

Knight says spirits are high in the Fulham camp after beating Middlesbrough, but called on his team-mates to record another victory against London rivals West Ham at the weekend.

“Beating Middlesbrough was massive because it takes us away from the bottom four or five, but it’s another huge game on Saturday because West Ham are struggling as well,” he said. “The Christmas period is more important than ever for us because, apart from Chelsea, we play sides that are either near the bottom or around us. It’s a very tight group just above relegation. You can’t take your foot of the gas, especially over the Christmas period when the games come thick and fast.”