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Practice makes perfect after fine free-kick for Woodrow

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Cauley Woodrow said that practice makes perfect after he revealed that head coach Slavisa Jokanovic has had the Fulham striker hitting the ball from long range at the club’s Motspur Park training ground during pre-season.

The 22 year-old revealed that he scored an almost identical free-kick to the stunning effort that increased Fulham’s lead at Leyton Orient on Tuesday night this week in training and, therefore, insisted captain Scott Parker roll the ball towards him, despite it being over 30 yards from goal.

I had one in training similar to that and I fancied it so I said to Scott to roll it and smash it in and thankfully it did. We were cruising at 3-0 and then they scored from a corner and a cross. It was sloppy from us. We’ve tried to stop that so it’s disappointing but we dug in.

It’s really good for confidence and we’re going into the next game with most of the lads having minutes as well. Everyone is feeling fit and ready.

Jokanovic delighted by his young stars

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Slavisa Jokanovic was extremely pleased with the way his young Fulham side saw off a spirited fightback from Leyton Orient to reach the second round of the EFL Cup at Brisbane Road.

The Fulham head coach handed four youngsters first-team debuts as he made eleven changes from the side that surprised Newcastle in their first league fixture on Friday night. All four caught the eye with Dennis Adeniran opening the scoring as the Whites won an enthralling contest 3-2.

It was a good game in the end. After they scored their goal they put us in some trouble.  I used many young players and players who I didn’t give many minutes to in the first Championship game. I can clear my mind.  I have some sort of conclusion about what I have in my hands, and generally it’s interesting times for us.

It’s a great project for the football players.  They’ve knocked the door, now it’s a question of if they’re going to push the door down and come in to professional football life. They played very good football and showed quality and great character.  It’s good news for us and good news for Fulham too.

They are working hard. Ryan Sessegnon is a talented boy.  It’s a great project for the football players, I’m sure he will participate this year in all competitions.

Generally we have to assess him and try and help him.  He’s working in the Championship, he’s competition for the adults. He’s ready for some part of this kind of competition, and we have to be careful about him.  I believe he’s going to be an important player in English football, but this player, this man or this boy needs time.

Woodrow brace sees young Fulham side through

Slavisa Jokanovic shuffled his pack following Friday’s win over Newcastle and selected a youthful side that showed plenty of promising signs as they secured a safe passage into the second round of the EFL Cup at Leyton Orient tonight. There was a debut goal for teenage midfielder Dennis Adeniran and a brace of real quality for Cauley Woodrow but perhaps the most pleasing aspect of an encouraging evening was the character a young team showed in surviving a late scare, provoked by the arrival of substitute Paul McCallum whose two headed goals, cast doubt on what had looked a comfortable victory.

Jokanovic would have been irritated by the way in which old defensive frailties threatened to undermine a composed display. That two experienced centre halves in Richard Stearman and Tim Ream appeal unable to counter McCallum’s aerial dominance was disappointing and the manner of the two goals conceded was all too familiar. Having looked assured at set plays for much of the evening, McCallum got the run on Ryan Tunnicliffe to reach Dean Cox’s corner ahead of a hesitant Jesse Joronen and then the forward outjumped Sean Kavanagh to power home another perfect Cox cross after Tunnicliffe had squandered possession.

The helter-skelter nature of the closing stages sparked by Orient’s impressive fightback shouldn’t detract from the quality of some of Fulham’s earlier football. Many of Jokanovic’s young tyros were to the fore, especially Adineran, who hardly put a foot wrong in central midfield before he was forced off early by a robust challenge. His range of passing caught the eye but the England youth international wasn’t afraid to put in a tackle or two and capped an excellent first start with the opening goal, meeting a wonderful Kavanagh corner with a firm header, which he celebrated by rushing into a North stand full of delirious Fulham fans.

Many of Adeniran’s contemporaries from the youth team also enhanced their reputations with Luca de Torre, asked to link the play between midfield and Woodrow, full of energy and clever touches. Ryan Sessegnon’s first senior start matched the quality of his pre-season displays, with dangerous forays forward – exemplified by one that culminated in a dangerous cross from which Woodrow should have doubled Fulham’s lead – and a maturity beyond his years. Tayo Edun worked tirelessly down the left, but both were feeling the effects of a full-blooded Cup tie by the final stages.

Woodrow certainly made the most of his first opportunity to impress after Matt Smith’s fine start to the new campaign against Newcastle by scoring twice in three second half minutes. There looked to be little danger when Edun was brought to ground by Gavin Massey some thirty five yards from goal, but Scott Parker tapped the free-kick square to Woodrow, who drilled a powerful finish into the bottom right corner of the net, leaving goalkeeper Sam Sergeant grasping at air. His second was just as impressive, utilising his strength to brush off Aron Pollock by the corner flag, advancing into the box and finding the bottom corner again with an accurate finish from an acute angle.

Fulham visibly relaxed after Woodrow’s double, stroking the ball around imperiously and threatening to add to their lead. The tone of the contest changed once Andy Hessenthaler summoned Cox and McCallum from the home side’s bench – and the ease with which the returning centre forward headed home his first rattled the visitors. The O’s immediately went on the offensive and only a smart save from Joronen prevented Ollie Palmer from pulling another one back.

Once Cox and McCallum had combined for a second time there was a serious sense of foreboding amongst the travelling contingent, although Woodrow spurned a good opportunity to seal his hat-trick with five minutes to play after strong play from Kavanagh down the right. The home side continued to press for an equaliser deep into the three minutes of stoppage time but their clearest opening came right at the death when Cox improvised a volley that flew straight into Joronen’s grasp. Fulham might have made it difficult for themselves – but they are in the hat for round two.

LEYTON ORIENT (4-4-1-1): Sergeant; Hunt, Kennedy, Pollock, Erichot; Weir (Alangana 73), Kelly, Semedo (Cox 73), Massey; Cornick (McCallum 62); Palmer. Subs (not used): Cisak, Clohessy, Moore, Gnanduillet.

BOOKED: Pollock.

GOALS: McCallum (72, 81).

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Joronen; Kavanagh, Sessegnon, Stearman, Ream; Parker, Adeniran (Tunnicliffe 64); Christensen, De La Torre (Cairney 88), Edun; Woodrow. Subs (not used): Button, Malone, Kalas, Ayite, Smith.

BOOKED: Adeniran.

GOALS: Adeniran (30), Woodrow (61, 64).

REFEREE: Andy Davies (Hampshire).

ATTENDANCE: 3,855

Up next: Leyton Orient (a)

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There’s something special about Fulham and trips to Brisbane Road. For a start, the O’s are the capital rivals that we’ve faced the most across our lengthy history and the clashes have often been particularly memorable. There was the dreadful first-half display that promoted a dressing-room showdown that saw Don Mackay relieved of his managerial duties and a more uplifting occasion that saw an injured Terry Angus lead the fans in song during a crucial promotion fixture. The prospect of a first visit to E10 since that sunny Sunday afternoon in March 1997 was appealing enough before Friday’s fantastic opening win over Newcastle United.

Orient, a club of similar stature and likeability, have always seemed to have the potential to kick on in the manner that the Whites did when Mohamed Al Fayed rolled into town. Barry Hearn’s boxing, snooker and commercial interests seemed to this outsider perhaps to hinder the club’s footballing progression – and there’s no doubt that the encroachment of an enriched neighbour onto their catchment area hasn’t helped. The club that were so close to the Championship only two years ago find themselves plotting a course out of the Football League basement under former Gillingham midfielder Andy Hessenthaler, with many fans still trying to work out want to make of owner Francesco Becchetti.

Judging long-term prospects from a single game is fraught with danger – as the longer-suffering Fulham fans have been reminding everyone since Friday’s euphoria – but Hessenthaler seemed pretty pleased with several aspects of his side’s play in a keenly contested draw at newly-promoted Cheltenham Town on Saturday. Striker Ollie Palmer, who started at Whaddon Road in place of last season’s top scorer Jay Simpson – who is linked with a move to Southend – is certainly in confident mood, insisting ‘that there is no reason why we can’t take the game to Fulham and get a positive result’. Hessenthaler is likely to alter his starting line-up, with league points being a priority and illness potentially ruling out several players, but there should be a first appearance in ten months for club stalwart Dean Cox and an opportunity for Nicky Hunt in defence

Getting the balance right between rotating a small squad and avoiding the Orient Cup hoodoo that has dogged his predecessors may prove tricky for Slavisa Jokanovic. Orient have won all three of the most recent Cup meetings between the sides – including in 2006 when they won a famous FA Cup third round victory at Craven Cottage. The Serbian will have his eye on an important trip to Preston North End at the weekend, but won’t want to dent the optimism engendered by the win over Newcastle. He could offer a first senior start to Ryan Sessegnon at left back after an impressive pre-season provided the England youth international has shaken off the knock that ruled him out of contention against the Magpies. Richard Stearman may also come into the back four with Ryan Fredericks still a long-term absentee at right back, whilst Cauley Woodrow, who was omitted in favour of Matt Smith last week, might be given a run-out up front.

The experience of Scott Parker, who came on to shore things up as the clock ticked down against Newcastle, may bolster the central midfield area that Jokanovic will want to dominate as early as possible tonight. Lasse Vigen Christensen’s promising cameo from the bench might be enough to earn a start, but the shape of the side shouldn’t differ too radically from the one that was so disciplined last Friday. Following one convincing performance with another has been tricky for Fulham in recent years – signs of consistency at Orient would be another indication that Jokanovic’s team is heading in the right direction.

MY FULHAM XI (4-3-3): Joronen; Stearman, Sessegnon, Madl, Kalas; Parker, Christensen, Cairney; Ayite, Aluko, Woodrow. Subs: Button, Odoi, Malone, Tunnicliffe, McDonald, Smith, Humphries.

Fulham face Leyton Orient trip in League Cup

Fulham have been handed a trip to Leyton Orient in the first round of English Football League Cup after the draw was made this lunchtime.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s side will travel to Brisbane Road during the week commencing Monday 8th August after the League Two side were drawn as the home team this afternoon. Orient finished the 2015/2016 season in eighth place, with Andy Hessenthaler’s charges missing out on the play-offs by six points.