The Championship notoriously provides scant opportunity for respite and, with illness having surged through the Fulham camp ahead of the draw with Derby, that’s certainly true this week. Saturday lunchtime sees Marco Silva’s side travel to Deepdale to take on Preston North End, who will be buoyed by their impressive midweek win over Middlesbrough, with genuine question marks over the composition of their side.

Silva suggested that Fulham will make as late a decision as possible on selection with possibly as many as nine players have been laid low by a sickness bug that wrecked havoc with their preparations for the clash with Derby on Wednesday. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tom Cairney were the headline absentees against the Rams, but several starters battled through that stalemate despite not having been able to train in the lead up to the fixture. It seems as if Harry Wilson’s early substitution – which offered a rare sighting of Anthony Knockaert – was linked to the Welsh winger’s lack of fitness. It is not known at this point whether further changes to the starting line-up will be necessary in Lancashire, although Marek Rodak is available again having observed the coronavirus protocols.

Fulham were far from their fluent best against Derby, but they fashioned enough chances to have beaten the league’s bottom side – who defended with real desire and determined – and perhaps would have done on another day. You have to wonder whether the outcome would have been dramatically different had Jean-Michael Seri’s swerving shot dipped into the net rather than crashing against the angle of post and bar. The Whites definitely missed Aleksandar Mitrovic but I felt Rodrigo Muniz gave a good account of himself against two wily centre backs – and had he scored that sensational scissor kick, we would have been raving about it for years to come.

Wednesday evening’s events showcased the phenomenal talents of Fabio Carvalho, who was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch. All his dazzling display lacked was a goal – and the energetic youngster almost did it all himself. He fashioned Fulham’s first opening with a brilliant burst down the right, almost squeezed in a sidefooted shot in the second half that stroke the base of the post and was denied by a brilliant reaction save from Kelle Roos as the Derby goal came under sustained pressure. In general play, Carvalho was bright, positive and committed opposition defenders with his every movement – there’s no doubting he could have a very successful career at the highest level.

There was ultimately disappointment that Fulham were unable to maintain their winning run – and, as Kenny Tete intimated this afternoon, it is important that Silva’s side channel that frustration effectively tomorrow afternoon. Preston won’t be easy opposition, as North End look like they are beginning to find their feet following a sticky start under Frankie McAvoy. They have won four of their last seven and have shown significant resilience in coming from behind on two occasions. Preston inflicted Bournemouth’s first league defeat of the season early this month and will be similarly primed to feed on any Fulham frailties.

McAvoy may well opt to reward the eleven that beat Middlesbrough by remaining unchanged tomorrow, which would mean Ched Evans settling for another place on the bench after marking his first appearance in three months with a vital goal on Tuesday. They are certainly without long-term absentees in Izzy Brown, Connor Wickham and Josh Murphy – who would make a real difference to any side at this level – but Fulham would be wish to watch for the talented Northern Ireland international Ali McCann as well as top scorer Emil Riis, who has registered twelve goals already this term, including the late winner at Middlesbrough.

MY FULHAM XI (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Tete, A. Robinson, Adarabioyo, Ream; Reed, Seri; Kebano, Wilson, Carvalho; Mitrovic. Subs: Gazzaniga, Hector, Odoi, Bryan, Cairney, Decordova-Reid, Muniz.