Tom Cairney declared his love of playing for the expansive Fulham side that Slavisa Jokanovic is building after he helped engineer a fourth straight home league win over Preston North End at Craven Cottage yesterday afternoon.
The Fulham captain, who was named as London’s Championship footballer of the year at last week’s London Football Awards, said that the 3-1 defeat of in-form North End capped a fine week perfectly. Fulham sit seventh in the table, five points behind Sheffield Wednesday with a game in hand. Cairney admitted he was desperate to put a performance worthy of the plaudits he had received since picking up the award, telling BBC London Sport:
It has been a great week for me personally, and the club. I wanted to play well and get the three points and thankfully we were able to do that. You have to give credit to the manager and his staff at Fulham. It’s a team I love playing in and the fans loving watching it!
Cairney’s praise for Jokanovic, who recently signed a two-year contract extension at Fulham, was significant as the Serbian head coach has moved the midfield to a more natural central midfield role from where he can dictate the play as well as offering him extra responsibility by giving Cairney the captaincy in the absence of club captain Scott Parker.
Attention now switches to Tuesday’s visit of fourth-placed Leeds, the team who Cairney supported as a boy and who released him at the age of 14 for being ‘too small’. Garry Monk’s side have lost just two of their last seventeen league fixtures and head to Craven Cottage on the back of an impressive 3-1 win at Birmingham City on Friday night:
Leeds will be our toughest home game of the season. It will be a real test of where we are as a side. Two very good teams will go head to head.