This season has not panned out as Fulham fans would have hoped. I naively believed in the summer that this time in the season we would see Fulham in an exciting battle for automatic promotion or closing in on a play-off spot that would hopefully see us through to the PL just one year after dropping out. Instead we find ourselves in the middle of an uncomfortably tight relegation battle. Blackpool are already relegated after a horrible season which leaves another two spots open for relegation casualties. Realistically I think that teams sitting 20th and below are all in danger of dropping to League One. The bottom of the table looks like this-
I reckon Brighton are safe as I can’t see Millwall getting 9pts from their last five games. However they are the last team who will be anxiously looking over their shoulders. Wigan are in deep trouble but we have all seen how much a new face in the dressing room, especially when the new face is a club legend, can rejuvenate a squad. Even if the manager has no managerial experience he can get the players playing for him which, at the start at least, is all that really matters. Our game with Wigan is going to be massive. If we win then I reckon we are just about safe but if we lose or even just get a point then both Millwall and Wigan will have their eyes on finishing above us. Wigan next three games are against us (A), Millwall (A) and Brighton (H). If they get points against us and Millwall then Gary Caldwell’s first game at the DW as manager will be massive!
Millwall have a game in hand over the rest of the relegation candidates but arguably have the most difficult fixtures to face with games against Watford, Blackburn, Derby and Wolves. However they play Wigan next week and a win then could possibly relegate Wigan depending on other results. That will essentially be a make or break game for both teams. Brilliant for the neutral, not so fun for the teams involved. They won last time out so will be keen to put a run together in search of safety.
Rotherham also won last time out beating Brighton 1-0 which could prove to be a vital victory for them. They also have a very difficult fixture list as they still have to face promotion seeking Middlesbrough then Norwich and Reading. Our game with Rotherham next week is a big one for both teams. I’m actually nervous just thinking about it!
Fulham have Wigan (H), Rotherham (H) and Blackpool (A) in our next three fixtures. All teams below us but no easy games. I have already mentioned that Wigan will be hoping to get club legend Gary Caldwell off to the perfect start at the Cottage tomorrow night, while Rotherham will be desperate to go ahead of us in the table to put some space between them and the dreaded red line of relegation. We absolutely have to make home advantage count. Then the game against Blackpool won’t be easy. They might already be relegated, but no team wants to go out with a whimper so they will play hard, knowing that they have nothing to lose! If we don’t get anything from those games then we will most likely go down, which is absolutely unthinkable for a team who many believed would go straight back up. Hopefully after the Blackpool game we will be safe but looking at the fixtures across the board for all teams involved, it is clear to me that there will be a lot more moving up and down very the next few weeks. It is a horrible position to be in, but as fans we need to keep behind the team and drive them forward to safety! It really is squeaky bum time.
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