West London rivals Fulham and Queens Park Rangers meet at Loftus Road on Tuesday evening seeking their first points since the Championship season resumed.
Fulham’s automatic promotion hopes have all but ended following back-to-back defeats, while neighbours QPR have slipped into the bottom half after losing two from two.
Seven points from nine prior to the three-month hiatus had Fulham well positioned to overhaul one of Leeds United or West Bromwich Albion for a place in the top two.
However, since the season resumed a little over a week ago the Cottagers have suffered a 2-0 loss to local rivals Brentford and a 3-0 reverse at Leeds.
From potentially being one point behind Leeds with seven games to play, Fulham are now 10 points behind the leaders and seven off West Brom, who have themselves struggled of late.
Indeed, with Brentford leapfrogging them into third and the chasing pack closing in, Scott Parker’s men will now be looking over their shoulder in the final straight.
Fulham do at least have something to play for, unlike another of their local rivals in QPR, who are 10 points off the playoffs and eight above the relegation zone.
It is now a case of jostling for position in mid-table for Mark Warburton’s side following 1-0 defeats to Barnsley and Charlton Athletic.
The biggest frustration for Warburton will be that QPR had momentum on their side before football was brought to a halt in March, winning three and drawing three of their last six games prior to lockdown.
A failure to score in those defeats to Barnsley and Charlton will be of particular concern, though the same is true of goal-shy Fulham after firing blanks in successive matches.
Fulham are now winless in four away matches, drawing three of those, though they do at least have a good record against Rangers.
The Cottagers have lost just two of the last 15 meetings between the sides in all competitions, most recently winning 2-1 in November’s reverse fixture thanks to Aboubakar Kamara’s brace.