By 1730 on the 16th December 2017, Fulham’s season hit a new low. The start we had had in the league was disappointing, and a fair few fans were calling for Slavisa Jokanovic’s head after that miserable defeat away to Sunderland, their first victory at the Stadium of Light in just shy of a year. Fulham sat 8 points off the final play-off spot and 15 points off Cardiff in the second automatic promotion spot. The promotion dream was close to disappearing before we had even reached half way through the season. I remember sitting in the stadium head in hands because of the lacklustre display that I had just witnessed.
Fast forward just under four months and the awful sinking feeling we all had in Sunderland that day seems a distant memory. Not only have Fulham consolidated their place in the play-off places, we are just five points behind Cardiff in second, albeit that they have a game in hand. Tonight sees one of the biggest games in the Championship this season when leaders Wolves head to Cardiff. Wolves will be desperate to put the Championship race realistically to bed tonight as a win over their closest rivals will put them 9 points clear at the top of the table. On the other hand, a win for Cardiff puts them just 3 points behind and with that game in hand against Derby.
From a Fulham point of view we will obviously be routing for Wolves tonight. If Cardiff fail to pick up points tonight and we beat Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow then there is just 2 points between us. Yes, the ball is in Cardiff’s court, but we can’t help but dream, can we? We have to take care of our own business regardless and hope that there is a big slip up in Wales.
Tomorrow’s game against Sheffield Wednesday will be a tough one. They are one of those teams who can find a result out of nowhere and they will hope to thwart our style of play. They are also on very good form at the minute, with three wins on the bounce and 8 goals scored along the way. Atdhe Nuhiu and Fernando Foresteiri will give our defence a hard time. It will be interesting to see whether Slavisa Jokanovic sticks with Tim Ream and Denis Odoi at centre back or if Tomas Kalas will get the nod to partner Ream. The height, or lack of it, of Odoi does slightly concern me against Nudhiu and Foresteiri but at the same time he has done incredibly well in that position since Kalas got injured, the QPR mistake aside.
I also think that Slav could rotate a bit further up the field. Johansen looked exhausted by the end of the game on Tuesday while we have so many wingers available that I think that we could see some movement in that position. I think it is more likely however that any rotation, apart from maybe the right-wing position, is more likely to come on Tuesday night against Reading at the Cottage. I feel as though it’s a game made for Aboubakar Kamara but by then we could be just behind Cardiff in the table so Slav may not want to change things too much.
For now, we should just sit back and try and enjoy watching tonight’s game between Cardiff and Wolves. By 10pm tonight the dream of a top 2 finish could be slightly closer.