International breaks seem to have wreaked havoc with Fulham’s rhythm this season. The Whites were flying under Marco Silva in August but stuttered badly after the first interruption for national service, slipping to a first defeat of the season at Blackpool in September. The mere prospect of further international duty appeared to derail a positive performance at Coventry, with a shambolic second half in the rain leaving Silva seething after a 4-1 defeat.

Fulham have been flawless since that miserable afternoon in the Midlands with six straight wins helping the Whites cut the gap to league leaders performance to just a couple of points, whilst consolidating a firm grip on second place. The latest round of internationals had a few saving graces – Aleksandar Mitrovic’s joy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s sullen disappointment in Lisbon was coupled with a first under-21 international goal for Ollie O’Neill and places in the play-offs for Harry Wilson and Neeskens Kebano for instance – but getting back to the bread and butter of the Championship will be a welcome relief.

Nobody should take the tasks ahead lightly, though. Fulham might be in fine form but the prospect of Barnsley coming to Craven Cottage should send a few shudders down spines. The Tykes ruthlessly demolished Scott Parker’s side on their last visit, winning 3-0 with former Fulham forward Cauley Woodrow pivotal to a well deserved victory and they have a strong record against the Whites in recent times. Barnsley, who appointed Swedish under 21 coach Poya Asbaghi as their new boss today, will want to arrest the alarming run of form that saw Markus Schopp get his marching orders and their players may see the trip to London as a low-pressure way of making an impression.

Today’s episode of Motspur Parklife on the official website features a couple of eye-catching cameos from Tom Cairney and Rodrigo Muniz, with the skipper a good bet to feature at the weekend should Jean Michael Seri need a rest following his international exertions with the Ivory Coast. Seeing Kenny Tete lining up on the right side of the back four was reassuring after injury-plagued start to the season – and the Dutch defender looks certain to reclaim his first team spot against Barnsley with Denis Odoi suspended.