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Bournemouth clash switched to Friday night

Scott Parker’s return to Craven Cottage with Bournemouth has been switched to Friday night for television coverage, Fulham have confirmed this afternoon.

The unbeaten Cherries currently have a five point lead over Marco Silva’s Fulham at the top of the Championship and Sky Sports have selected what could prove a pivotal promotion six-pointer for live television coverage. The game will now kick off at 7.45pm on Friday 3 December.

Chalobah ruled out of Forest trip

Fulham will definitely be without Nathaniel Chalobah for Sunday’s trip to Nottingham Forest and could be missing several other key players, according to Marco Silva.

Harrison Reed was withdrawn at half time in Wednesday night’s win over Cardiff City after feeling his calf late in the first half – and head coach Silva says he will wait as late as possible before making a decision over whether the former Southampton midfield can participate at the City Ground. Both Joe Bryan and Fabio Carvalho have resumed training following their respective injuries but the Fulham boss told his pre-match press conference this afternoon that it was too soon to know whether either could be involved this weekend.

Discussing Reed’s injury, Silva said:

It’s nothing serious, but he’s not 100% fit. We have one more training session, so we have to see how all three are. How long is Chalobah out? It’s difficult to say right now. We have to wait and see.”

Silva is wary of in-form Forest, who have yet to lose since replacing Chris Hughton with Steve Cooper, who came close to being offered the Fulham job earlier this summer.

“Forest are in great, great form and have a good start under a new manager. To win as they did on Tuesday in the final minute is a real boost. But we are looking forward to the game and will prepare to win it, as we normally do.”

McAvoy joins Wealdstone on loan

Fulham defender Conor McAvoy has signed for Wealdstone on an initial one-month loan deal.

The Scottish under 19 international, who has been with Fulham since the age of eight, helped Steve Wigley’s under 18s side win the Premier League south title and has become a regular in the under 23 starting line-up over the past couple of seasons. McAvoy, who has made eight appearances and scored three times at under 23 level so this season, will go straight into Wealdstone’s squad for their meeting with Weymouth tomorrow.

He joins Fulham goalkeeper George Wickens on loan at the Stones.

Comeback goal is ‘just the start,’ says Cairney

Tom Cairney insists his magical comeback against Cardiff City is ‘just the start’ of the next chapter in his Fulham career as he bids to build up his match sharpness following ten months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The Fulham captain scored within twelve minutes of coming on as a substitute at half-time last night to break struggling Cardiff’s brave resistance at Craven Cottage last night – and admitted to FFCTV after the final whistle that such a fairytale moment left him pretty emotional.

“Yeah, it’s mental. It’s been a hard ten months or so – a lot of setbacks. It’s been difficult, obviously seeing my team get relegated as well and not being able to do anything about it. I’ve had some magical moments but that’s up there.

“It’s crazy. It’s the longest time out of my career. Watching the guys train, watching them play this season – it’s been great to watch, they’ve played some good stuff, but to be a part of it is an amazing feeling.

Cairney admitted that he might not be able to start a competitive game as he feels his way back to competitive football but the playmaker is delighted to back amongst Marco Silva’s midfield options at long last.

“I’ve had some great moments in a Fulham shirt but that’s right up there. It’s fantastic. The gaffer’s got us playing some good football, we’re a good unit, we’re hungry and, look, I’m not fully, fully back yet but hopefully this is just the start. Starting a game would be very hard as I’ve had a long time off playing football, but I think 45 minutes there could only hold me in good stead.

The boys helped me out. The boys were brilliant. It’s great to be back out there. Onwards and upwards. We’ve got a big game at the weekend – touch wood, everything’s cool.

Silva confident Cairney’s injury hell is behind him

Marco Silva believes that a specialist training programme devised by Fulham’s medical staff has helped Tom Cairney put his longstanding knee problems behind him.

The Fulham head coach tasked the club’s head of performance, Bruno Mundes, and new medical supremo – Chris Hanson – to come up with an individual training plan that would allow Cairney to make progress in his recovery from persistent knee problems without pain after the midfielder managed to take part in only one session following Silva’s appointment at Craven Cottage. The result saw the playmaker return to full training quicker than expected – and mark his first appearance in ten months with the opening goal against Cardiff City last night.

Silva hopes that emotional motion means that Cairney can put his injury nightmare in the past and that the Fulham skipper can make a significant contribution as the Whites look to secure an immediate return to the top flight. He told his post-match press conference:

“Tom was in a specific situation when I arrived at the club. “As you know he had some problems last season and when he started working pre-season with his team-mates, we felt we couldn’t carry on this way with constant pain and we decided with Tom that we have to stop him.

“Now, maybe in the last three weeks, four weeks, he started to recover on the pitch – not feeling the same pain. Of course he is not in his best physical condition. He has to improve and if the game is really intense for 90 minutes, of course he will struggle a bit, but the good thing is he’s not feeling pain any more in his knee.

I think we did the right thing with him there. He’s worked really hard. It was tough to see him always in the gym when we went to the pitch. It’s part of the life of a professional footballer, but it’s good to see him again and let’s hope in the future the pain won’t come back again and we can see Tom playing at his best level again.”

Wilson happy with professional performance

Harry Wilson was delighted with the professional way Fulham broke down a stubborn Cardiff side as they moved into the automatic promotion places following a 2-0 win tonight.

The Welsh winger, who spent last season on loan at the Bluebirds, had a hand in both of the goals as Fulham had to wait until well after half time to take the lead. His shot was deflected into the path of Tom Cairney, who crashed home from the edge of the box on his return from ten months out injured, and Wilson won the ball high up the pitch to start the move that saw Aleksandar Mitrovic double lead.

Wilson told FFCTV after the final whistle that he knew it was likely to be a tough assignment against Mick McCarthy’s men and felt Fulham more than merited the three points:

“Going into the game, we knew it was going to be a tough game. We know that they’re not in the best run of form at the minute, but that could have changed for them tonight so we were desperate to make sure we went out there and got the win to follow up the win we got at the weekend. First half was tough. We created chances, but I thought they played well. Second half, it was a great strike from TC and then that set us on the way and we could have had quite a few more.

“There was a bit of water on the pitch but we said at half time we just need to keep moving the ball, keep them working and the chances will appear. I think once we got the first that settled us down and we got the second and, as I said, we probably could have got a few more. At the other end, Marek makes a good save at 2-0 and if they score then it would have been a nervy last ten minutes or so.

The winger admitted he was a little disappointed with the fact that his assists have dropped off a bit in recent games but was pleased with his contribution to a crucial win.

“I think I am. The last few weeks I’ve been a bit disappointed that my numbers have dropped a bit for goals and assists but as long as the team are winning and I can help – like you say, winning the ball back high for Mitrovic’s goal. I think my shot was deflected for Tom’s goal as well. I’d like to think I played my part in both of the goals.”

He had plenty of praise for Cairney’s determination and quality after such a dispiriting spell on the sidelines.

“I’ve seen in my short time at the club all the hard work he’s been putting in off the pitch that of course the fans don’t see. When we’re at training, he’s in the gym working hard. He’s joined back in the last few weeks upping his fitness. He’s probably not at fittest tonight but when he came in, it was like he’d never been away. He was keeping the ball, getting forward and when he got his chance he didn’t think twice about it and to see it fly in the back of net was a great moment. You can see the technique he’s got, we know he’s got that quality – and for him to do it so quickly in his comeback was brilliant.”