Supporters talk the departure of Scott Parker, arrival of Marco Silva, the goalscoring exploits of Aleksander Mitrovic and more
Fulham look set to be promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, again. They currently sit top of the Championship, one point ahead of nearest rivals Bournemouth, playing some expansive, attacking football under new coach Marco Silva. It's a long old season in the second tier, and we aren't even half way through, but it seems a safe bet to assume that the West London side will at least secure one of the two automatic promotion spots. It looks like being a two horse race for the title between themselves and Bournemouth, led by former boss Scott Parker, with the loser almost certain to finish second. Eight points separate The Cottagers from third place QPR as things stand, and with the football they've produced so far this season, that seems a mighty big number for their local rivals to overhaul.
Silva's men have scored 49 goals in 20 games, helped in no small part by the 21 goals scored by Championship top scorer Aleksander Mitrovic who is once again having a lovely old time in the second tier. The closest anyone comes to that is Bournemouth, having scored 13 less. It's early days yet but things seem to be going very well for Fulham fans right now and we expect they are happy and confident about their chances going into a busy winter schedule.
We reached out to Louis Bird, founder of Fulham Fan TV and Scott Tanfield from Friends of Fulham to get their impressions on how things are going so far this season at Craven Cottage. Here's what they had to say:
Q. What do you make of the job Scott Parker did during his time at the club and how did you feel about him leaving? Was it the right time?
Louis: Parker did a good job as he did the most important thing for the club, he gained promotion. He lacked experience at our club but that was to be forgiven as he’s very new to the management scene.
Q. Parker is now at Bournemouth and it seems like you and them will be fighting neck and neck for the title. Do you think you've got enough in the squad to win the title? Do you think you'll beat them on Friday?
Scott: Tough questions, and even if we do lose on Friday, I still don’t think it’s decided. If we hadn’t got promoted that season, I’m 99.9% sure Parker would’ve left us for Bournemouth back then. Something about the Club, Sandbanks, the links to Redknapp etc, screamed Scott. Yes, under Marco Silva, I do feel we can outscore Bournemouth.
Q. What was your initial reaction to Marco Silva's appointment? There was some scepticism about him in certain quarters prior to his arrival, how did you feel about it?
Louis: It was difficult at first because of his past appointments and how he left certain clubs so suddenly (not going to name then but we all know). We were confident the owners would make the right choice and get the best person for the job. Within our camp we felt quietly confident.
Q. How would you rate the job he's done so far? Is he the man to take Fulham back up and keep them there?
Scott: I'd give him a solid 8/10, we’ve beaten some very good sides when we thought we’d lose, but also had some poor games against the likes of Blackpool, Coventry, Reading, and most recently Preston. In the Premier League, I do feel he has a style that’d keep us up over someone like Parker.
Q. Aleksandar Mitrovic is dominating the Championship again. Why is it that he can't replicate this form in the Premier League?
Louis: For Mitro this is a difficult situation and we feel it’s not that he can’t make it, the team needs to suit him. If we have a team built for his style of play then we don’t see why he shouldn’t be a great Premier League striker. This is a bit unfair on him, the last season he properly played in the Premier League he still managed double figure goals so it’s definitely within him to succeed.
Q. Aside from the league's top scorer (Mitrovic), who has been the shining light in this team? Who's been the key player that an outsider who isn't following the team closely might have overlooked?
Scott: Ream, who we all thought wouldn’t be here this season is an absolute rock. Not sure what they’ve put in Kebano’s weetabix, but he’s playing like a prime Luis Boa Morte this season. Harry Wilson at a £1 loan fee (cough, cough) seems to be a class above, and the keeper Rodak who’s come back in, is very assured.
Next up for Fulham is that huge clash with title rivals Bournemouth this Friday. The Cottagers will hope to make the most of home advantage as they welcome their former boss Scott Parker and his side, desperate to win and extend their lead at the top to four points. This match could not have any more narrative. Two title contenders. One point between them. The rest of the league falling by the wayside. One former boss returning to his old stomping ground. The two highest scoring teams in the league. The list of reasons to watch this match is endless. Fulham fans will hope they go home happy on what is sure to be a cold Friday night in West London.
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