The Craven Corner: We Can’t Get Carried Away

While it has been easy to get carried away this season, even I must remember not to  get ahead of myself after every victory. At the start of the season, I stated that Fulham are still a club in transition and after changing personnel every summer, the club is crying out for stability and over time our situation will be much more impressive. Under Slavisa Jokanovic the club has dramatically improved, we have found an identity and style that suits our squad and the summer’s recruitment has been a success.

Debatably, we are in still in the race for a promotion place, if we don’t achieve a top six finish then the club must keep the core of the squad for the long-term future, that does include a new deal for the management staff. Even though, style doesn’t guarantee points, as a squad everyone has improved and realistically we’ve built a strong foundation to build upon. If we can keep the current crop together for another 18 months, there’s no reason why the club shouldn’t be able to return to the highest tier in English football.

If points were awarded for the possession percentages and style of play then we would have already been promoted, but sadly that’s not the case and in certain fixtures we need to be able to revert to a plan B. I know the fans wouldn’t want the football to become ‘boring’ but at the same time, we need to win ‘ugly’. It’s all good dominating the ball, but when clubs sit deep and soak up the pressure we shouldn’t be afraid to play more direct. With Martin leading the line, we have one of the most prolific forwards in this division, and with the arrival of Cyriac in the January transfer window, we could change shape or style if things aren’t going our way in games. If this means changing the way the full-backs attack, and making them more defensively disciplined or going two up-front, then it must be explored. Teams are well aware of our capabilities and if they are setting up for the point, then we need to be able to revert to a different system.

The next six months are probably the most important at our club in a very long time. The reason behind that statement is quite simple. We finally have the players and staff that could re-build this club, but investment from the top to secure those assets for next 18-24 months is now pivotal. Without a doubt there will be interest in our key players in the summer, but  we cannot afford to lose anyone from our starting eleven.

Give the current setup another 18 months, and we should finally get the consistency that we have long needed since the departure of Roy Hodgson & Mark Hughes. Ever since we’ve blown hot and cold and our time in the Championship has been far below expectations of anyone involved with the football club. But, we are a club in transition and should we keep the personnel  for the long-term, with a few clever additions in the summer we could have a promotion winning campaign next season, if it is not achieved in during 2017.

After allowing a few players to leave the club in the January transfer window, Slavisa has managed to wittle the squad down to a select few players that he is keen to work with. Jokanovic should be given a tonne of praise for the way he has developed young Ryan Sessegnon. The left-back has been managed expertly and been allow to develop and not been thrown in the deep end. Managing expectations and development is vital for the youngster, and so far, that has been a success. A key figure for the future of Fulham, and another success of our Youth Academy.

Today’s game will be a tough despite the difference in league position. Wigan had a very eventful transfer window and with an influx of new faces, manager Warren Joyce is slowly moulding a very capable squad for this division. There will be a few names in their squad that some Fulham fans will notice, particularly Dan Burn. The gigantic defender, returns to Craven Cottage as an opponent and I’m sure many fans will still remember Dan clearing crosses in our 2-2 draw against Manchester United years ago. Despite the high-profile departure of Yanic Wildschut on deadline day, Wigan possess enough firepower in the likes of Will Grigg and Omar Bogle, so Fulham must make sure that they are raring to go from the first whistle, as any little mistake will be punished with those two across the frontline.

Thank you for reading, and if you have any feedback – Please feel free to tweet me @ABronsSmith

Plenty of reasons to be optimistic as a Fulham fan

Happy New Year!

Now 2017 has begun, Fulham look to continue their impressive form as they aim to finish in the top six come May. Apart from the fixtures against Brighton, Fulham are unbeaten with their last defeat (excluding Brighton games) coming against Aston Villa back in October.

Slavisa Jokanovic has worked wonders over the past year and considering he had to completely rebuild the squad, he has managed to bring an identity back to the club.

But, the second half of the season is now more important than ever. The race for the top six continues to be a tight one with Huddersfield & Leeds improving on a weekly basis and Derby County having a revival under Steve McClaren. If we are going to get promoted we have to continue the form we are in, if not be slightly more clinical. Despite dropping points from winning positions against Wolves and Derby, Fulham have looked like a promotion-winning side and now the squad is settled, fans have more than enough reasons to be optimistic.

Despite a few off the field dramas with Mike Rigg leaving the club and Chris Martin going on strike, Fulham have managed to stay focused on the pitch, despite having a true focal point in attack. Against Cardiff City, Sone Aluko lead the line and away to Ipswich Town, Floyd Ayite done a superb job when called upon. The most pleasing thing for me this season is that we are creating plenty of chances, and regardless of who is up top they will get plenty of service. But, with that said we are a better team with Chris Martin in the side.

Although it has been a worrying January for Fulham fans concerning the future of Chris Martin, the drama seems to have come to a halt with the loanee starting against Barnsley; scoring and notching up an assist in the process. While, I can’t get my head round the lack of professionalism shown by Derby County during the ordeal, I’m over the moon that we kept the forward and that; Slavisa and the board stood their ground and played hard-ball with our promotion rivals. Without a doubt, Chris Martin is one of the best players in this division and his goal-scoring record at this level proves that. If Martin had gone back to Derby, we would have only weakened our chances of promotion and strengthened a rival.  While I understand why Martin is keen to sort out his future, I don’t approve of the ‘strike’ to get your own way. But, what is important is that we support the club and forward on the pitch, and with any off the pitch issues, have faith in the management and board to get it sorted.

Martin is coming to the peak years of his career and his next long-term contract will probably be the last one which is 4-5 years long, so he obviously wants to make sure his young family will be financially stable. Personally, I’d love Martin to become a permanent Fulham player, but I feel that will only happen if we get promotion.

The Derby forward has been the centre of controversy over recent weeks, but I’m glad he’s back in the starting eleven. Saturday’s victory over Barnsley was a reminder of just how good and important he is. His ability to hold up the ball and bring the midfielders into play is incredible. With willing runners like Cairney, Johansen, Aluko & Piazon, Martin’s ability to hold the ball up in vital areas allows those midfielders to flourish in the final third.

Although I’ve focused on how great we have been in attack, there has been a massive improvement at the other end of the pitch. Kevin McDonald has been a colossus in the centre of the park and while I had my fears over his mobility in the summer, the Scottish midfielder’s ability to read the game is immense. The former Wolves midfielder has sat at the base of our midfield and with his ability to break up the play combined with an impressive passing range, McDonald has become the architect for many of our counter-attacks as well being one of the biggest reasons for the clean sheets we have started to accumulate.

Last weekend also saw the return of Tomas Kalas at the heart of defence after he recovered from injury.  I can’t sing the praises of the Chelsea loanee enough if I’m honest. I truly believe he is the best defender I have witnessed at Championship level. He’s young, determined, strong, quick and has the technical ability Slavisa demands from his ball-playing centre-backs. While, I’d pray and dream for his move to become permanent, realistically I can’t see this happening unless we were promoted. With Chelsea paying £5m for him a number of years ago, and them selling Bamford for £10m, Kalas’ value must be higher than that. Then again, if we were promoted, investing financially in the Czech defender would be one of the best pieces of business the club would have done for a number of years.

Finally, Fulham have agreed a deal to extend the loan of Lucas Piazon from Chelsea and with the player looking for a long-term club, Fulham may be in the race to sign him on a permanent basis in the summer. There has been rumours online that he could be available for just £4m, but they aren’t from the most reliable sources. For now, let’s just celebrate that his loan has been extended, and we’ll re-visit the permanent topic in the summer.

Apart from the Martin drama and Piazon’s extension our activity in the transfer window has been quiet, but then again this is expected of the club. We generally do keep our business out of the media’s focus until they have been announced. Belgian newspapers have linked us with an improved £3m bid for Ibrahima Cisse of Standard Liege but whether or not that comes to fruition is another story.

At the weekend, Fulham face one of their biggest fixtures against local rivals, QPR. With QPR under-achieving this season despite a recent upturn in form under Ian Holloway , Fulham will need to make sure that they secure all three points if they are serious about gaining promotion this season. Winning at the weekend is a must to stay in reach of a play-off place, and with our recent form there’s no reason why we can’t take all the points from the derby. Make your voices heard and let’s keep looking up. There’s no reason why we can’t be optimistic and the sky is the limit in 2017 for Fulham. COYW’s!

Thank you ever so much for reading and if you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact me on Twitter: @ABronsSmith.

Fulham Match day Programme – 2nd January 2017 v Brighton

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In my opinion, Fulham’s squad this season is the strongest it’s been in the last two or three years. There’s no reason why we can’t achieve a Play-Off place by the end of the campaign. While there are still a few things to get right, Slaviša Jokanović has given Fulham an identity once again, and this summer’s business was the most successful for a long, long time. Jokanović, though, must have been gutted to have dropped points away at Wolves and at home to Derby. While a draw against Derby is a decent result, Fulham will need to close games out and be able to defend a lead much more efficiently should they want to mount a top-six push this season. Dropping points at Wolves was huge, especially after the Whites were cruising 3-1. Although Chris Martin couldn’t feature against his parent club Derby, the Scotsman has proved his value to Fulham over the last month, and fans were treated to some of his best performances.

Should Martin continue his fine form over the rest of the season, Fulham supporers will be praying the Club sign him on a permanent basis. Even though Stefan Johansen was subbed in the first half on his debut, the Norwegian midfielder has now become one of the Club’s most valued players. Since Jokanović switched to a midfield trio of Kevin McDonald, Tom Cairney and Johansen, Fulham have managed to control games with comfortable ease in the centre of the park. With Johansen’s work ethic and quality at both ends of the pitch, Cairney has been allowed a free role to express himself and become the architect of most of our attacks. Johansen’s rise at Fulham isn’t just pleasing for the fans, but it should be used as an inspiration for any of the players who’ve struggled to secure regular game time. Johansen has come in, adapted his style to fit the side and has now become a vital cog in Jokanović’s machine.

Brighton will prove to be a big test for Fulham today, but the Whites can take positives from the first half of the reverse fixture. Fulham were the better team for 60 minutes until two lapses of concentration allowed the hosts to score twice. If Fulham want to get promoted this season, a victory today would prove we have the quality needed to succeed. Make your voices heard this afternoon and let’s get Craven Cottage rocking. It’s a new year and a new start for our side to achieve something special. Believe!

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Looking Up: Top Six & What’s to come in January.

A lot has happened since my last article as Fulham look to push on for a top six finish.  

Despite dropping points against Wolves, Fulham have been relatively successful in the last month and with their performances improving every week, they are slowly being recognised as potential promotion candidates this season.

First of all, we have seen a huge improvement in our midfield with Kevin McDonald, Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney operating incredibly well together. By having McDonald and Johansen paired together, it allows Cairney the freedom to operate more centrally and play a more advanced role – a position he has flourished in. Many of the players should look up Stefan Johansen for how much he has achieved in such a short time, and is an inspiration to anyone on the fringe of the starting eleven. Despite the Norwegian being substituted in the first half of his debut at Fulham, he has adapted his game to suit the needs of Head Coach, Slavisa Jokanovic and has cemented his place in the starting eleven, picking up a number of man of the match awards along the way too.

Johansen’s emergence is the same journey that the likes of Jozabed and Neeskens Kebano will embark on shortly – both of which have failed to make an impact since joining. With the January transfer window around the corner, I’m hoping Jozabed and Kebano prove their worth as their combined fees were around £8m – a hefty percentage of our total spend this summer and the fans still have high hopes for both midfielders.

But, with the January transfer window just around the corner it seems that the rumour mill is in full flow and will cause more disruption than benefit to Jokanovic’s men, with loanee Chris Martin taking the headlines already. The Scottish forward pulled out of the match-day squad this evening for our fixture against Reading, despite being fit enough to play. It seems the player is/was reportedly demanding a return to Derby County next month.

While this certainly shocked many fans, it appears that Derby County have offered the forward a new contract – a bizarre set of events for sure. It’s no secret that McClaren disapproved of the loan deal to bring Martin to the Cottage, but to offer a player who is out on loan (with a view to permanent) a new long-term deal is surprising, and more of disruptive act than anything else. Interestingly so, Martin had previously spoken highly of his time at Fulham and playing under Slavisa Jokanovic, so wanting to suddenly leave the club and return to Derby has been a bombshell for everyone. I’d expect this fiasco to be wrapped up in the next two weeks, as I’d believe this is more his agent trying to force Fulham to activate the permanent transfer option in January rather than waiting until next summer, so the player has more stability in his personal life and can make long-term arrangements about moving his family to the capital or not. Slavisa hasn’t hidden his admiration of the forward and now that Mike Rigg has left the club, the Serbian may attempt to force the board into securing a permanent move for Martin next month rather than at the end of the season.

Personally, I’d like to see Martin stay at the club and I feel that after a short time settling in at the club, he’s proved to be the missing ingredient for Slav’s eleven. I’d like to see Martin as a stronger version of Ross McCormack, due to his ability to create goals for others as well as being a clinical finisher, but he has a bigger and more physical side to the game that McCormack lacked in order to play the lone striker role.  While it remains uncertain as to what the future holds for the club and player, it will be interesting to see how this pans out, especially as Martin was not wanted by the previous Derby manager, Nigel Pearson and Slavisa put his faith in him and gave him a chance to play regularly.

On the other hand, if Martin is banished to the reserves or returns to Derby, Fulham will be in the market for another forward. There has already been talk of Cauley Woodrow joining Ipswich Town on loan, while a loan exit seems possible for Matt Smith too. Fulham have continued to track the progress of Eibar forward, Sergi Enrich who would be a like for like replacement for Martin should his time at the Cottage end sourly. Sergi Enrich would still be a risk at around £4.5m, considering he hasn’t played in this division before, but he is a player that Slavisa wanted in the summer, and with the club still interested in a deal I wouldn’t be too surprised if Enrich was the plan B to Martin after all. Fulham have also been linked with a move for Grimsby Town forward, Omar Bogle. The free-scoring striker seems to be the complete package in terms of size and speed, but it would be a huge jump up in competition if the Grimsby Town hot-shot was expected to fit straight into the side in the Championship. Not only that, but Nottingham Forest have tracked the forward heavily in recent weeks and an approach from them is more than likely when the window opens.

Personally, I was hoping for Marcus Bettinelli to be recalled to the side over the last few weeks, but this hasn’t materialised with Slavisa sticking with David Button, despite a number of mistakes. This suggests that Button will be the number one goalkeeper for the season and I’d assume Bettinelli or Joronen will leave the club on loan for the second half of the season to stay match-fit.

There has been some interest in securing some defensive reinforcements after Tomas Kalas suffered an injury, but no names have been mentioned. But, in attack there has been talk of an extension to the loan spell of Chelsea loanee, Lucas Piazon until the end of the season, which I’d expect to be done early in January.  In an ideal world, Fulham would be able to sign both Piazon and Kalas on a permanent deal in the summer, but Chelsea signed Kalas for £5m a number of years ago, and after his development in English football, they would be looking for a sizeable profit which could force him out of our price-range. Nevertheless, both players are looking for a permanent club, and with Fulham just a stone’s throw away from their current clubs, we could be the preferred option.

While the focus will be on player recruitment next month, it must be noted that the club have opened contract talks with manager, Slavisa Jokanovic and his coaches. Over the past 12 months with him in charge, Fulham have been revitalised and have slowly gained an identity. With Malaga looking to hire Slavisa for next season, signing Slavisa to a long-term deal in January could be our best business mid-season for a very long time. Now that Mike Rigg has left the club, I’d hope that Slavisa gets the power in the transfer market that he desires and signs a new deal. With talks already starting over a new deal, let’s hope we hear good news about an extension very soon.

Finally, I’d just like to thank everyone for their ongoing support of the Craven Corner and I honestly cannot believe how much it has grown in 2016. I honestly couldn’t have done it without you and the opportunity to blog and write about the team I support is a true honour.

The next article of ‘The Craven Corner’ will appear in the match-day programme against Brighton. For those attending, please make your voices heard and back the players as much as you can. If we can secure 3 points against Brighton, our push for the top six could become even stronger.

Let’s hope 2017 is a successful year, and Fulham can mount a serious promotion push.

Please do share the article and feel free to tweet any feedback or thoughts to me on Twitter @ABronsSmith.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year!

Time for Consistency, not complacency.

When Fulham are on form, there’s not a team in this league that can beat us on our day. Bold statement? Yes. Is it fair? Probably.

Going into the fixture last weekend, most fans would have taken a point before the kick off. Reading went into the game on a run of five straight wins, and were the in-form team in the division. Jaap Stam had got them playing some decent football and pushed them up into third in the league, while we had been going through an inconsistent patch and in the Brighton game we had dominated until second half where we capitulated.

So what happened against Reading then? Ryan Fredericks returned to the starting eleven, which was the correct tactical move and we continued to press and try to kill off the game when in control – something that we didn’t do against Brighton in that second half. Fulham have a terrific squad this season, and we’re at our best when we are going forward; getting the full-backs in the attacking third and doubling up in vital areas. As soon as we turn off or decide to sit back, we no longer dictate the tempo and as we’ve seen so many times this season, it costs us. We took the foot off the accelerator in the second half when we were leading, and Brighton got more of the ball, and then two lapses in concentration saw a 0-1 lead turn into a 2-1 defeat, and we have to make sure we continue to play for 90 minutes.

Against Reading, we continued to attack at every opportunity and that dominance lead to an impressive performance and a statement of intent from the club. With the likes of Chris Martin, Stefan Johansen, Tom Cairney, Sone Aluko & co in the final third, we have some of the best attackers in this division. With Martin leading the line, we have one of the most prolific target men in this league, as long as we keep attacking and providing chances for him, he’ll finish. Yes, some people will miss McCormack when we have been goal-shy, but McCormack moved on, and we became a better side because of it. Martin is a focal point in attack, while Ross tried to drop back and get the ball, leaving a gap further up the field. As long as Martin is leading the line, the ball will stick – the potential issue is that the supporting attackers don’t get close enough. But if we continue to press, there will be willing runners from midfield supporting the target man.

While there are issues around consistency with the team, what has been clear in recent weeks is the quality and reliance on midfield trio, Stefan Johansen, Kevin McDonald & Tom Cairney – all of which, compliment each other. McDonald at £1.25m and Johansen at £2m seem to be the best investment by any club this summer. Recruiting that level of quality at those basement prices in today’s market is a master stroke and the board deserve a round of applause for securing both. While McDonald isn’t the fastest to cover ground, he is becoming more and more disciplined and his range of passing is terrific. He has the ability to architect a move from a deeper position while his understanding of the game and predicting the pass is something that is vital to his game. This is then complimented by Cairney and Johansen ahead of him. Cairney is given free reign to float about and cause problems where it matters in an advanced playmaker role, while Johansen has a bigger engine than most military vehicles. Johansen doesn’t stop running and being able to be a box-to-box midfielder for 90 minutes makes him a key player and his goal against Reading shows his class -the finish was of the highest standard.

Now, if we can manage to find a level of consistency, Fulham can achieve a top six finish position this season. This is the test now: To make sure we don’t get complacent and aim to kill the game out when we’ve been in control. We’ve dominated every game in terms of possession, now we just need to keep going until the game is out of sight. That’s not winning 5-0 every week, but that’s getting at least a two goal cushion when we are on top. 1-0 Isn’t a safe score line these days, and if we find that level of consistency there’s not another club in this division that should stop us on our day.

We now have 5 games before the end of the year, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t aim to at least win 3 or 4 of those. Wolves, Derby, Ipswich, Rotherham & Reading await us, but if we replicate the form against Reading, we could force ourselves into the top six at Christmas. These aren’t the easiest fixtures coming up, but they are the type of games we need to win to be top six material. Let’s get consistent, not complacent.

Thank you for reading and your ongoing support of the blog.

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The Craven Corner: Match Day Programme V Reading – 3rd December 2016

After back-to back wins and a draw against Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham came unstuck in the second half at Brighton, which meant our trip to the seaside ended in defeat.

Despite our inconsistency this season, Fulham are 10th in the table and dreams of a top-six finish are far from over. Brighton was always going to be a tough fixture, but Fulham were dominant in the first half. In all honesty, if it hadn’t been for the heroics of former Whites stopper David Stockdale, we would have had more to show than Kevin McDonald’s opener when the sides went in at half-time. Sadly, lapses in concentration at the back in the second period allowed Sam Baldock and Glenn Murray to smash strikes past David Button, and Brighton took the spoils. Although the game finished with a disappointing result, I have to give a big thanks to the 2,500-plus away fans who were absolutely outstanding from start to finish.

The atmosphere they created was amazing, and if that could continue today then Craven Cottage will be rocking! Fulham will have their work cut out for them this afternoon, though, as they prepare to take on an in-form Reading side, now managed by former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam. I’m very impressed with the side Stam has created, and in winning their last five games, the Royals are right in the hunt for one of the automatic promotion spots. Garath McCleary is also in red-hot form, while midfielder Danny Williams will be a tough opponent. The American has made a name for himself over the last few seasons as a stand-out player in this division. With his tenacity and commanding presence in the heart of their midfield, Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen may not be granted the time they’ve had in recent weeks when they have the ball. While I appreciate it’s been a rollercoaster ride for Fulham fans, we’re still a team in transition. I know it’s easy to think of bigger things after we win a couple of games, but it’s a long season. The more time this side spends playing together, the better we will be. We have some truly outstanding talent in this squad, and once we find our consistency, there’s no reason why we can’t compete for the top six. But if we fall short of it this season, then we’d have built a tremendous foundation to have a successful campaign next year. Today will be an almighty test against promotion candidates, but with your support, the lads could grab a result today. Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 09.59.55.png

Is it time to be optimistic once again?

Fulham are back in action this weekend as they prepare to take on last year’s play-off finalists, Sheffield Wednesday.

After back to back wins for the Whites, Fulham should be full of confidence heading into the next two fixtures against teams who are expected to be in the promotion race this season; Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton. Both sides have more than enough quality to destroy anyone in this division, and if Fulham make it 4 wins on the spin, there’s no reason why Jokanovic’s men can’t achieve a top six finish this season.

Despite Sheffield Wednesday losing their last two games, we can’t expect it to be an easy game. With the likes of Fernando Forestieri, Steven Fletcher, Gary Hooper & former Fulham loanee, Urby Emanuelson amongst their ranks they possess more than enough attacking talent to cause any defence trouble. Even though they have underachieved so far this season, they are just waiting to hit form and hopefully that doesn’t come against us.

What will be interesting from the next two games is that both Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday play in a very similar style to ourselves; they both want to dominate possession and when it comes down to match day it will be a massive battle in midfield. With Jokanovic seemingly finding his best system in recent weeks involving a midfield trio of Cairney, Johansen and McDonald, all three will have to continue their stellar displays should we want to continue our winning run. Since the change in system, we have been able to get the very best out of McDonald and Johansen, which in turn allows Cairney to operate freely in the centre of the park and when Tom is allowed to play in those gaps, chances are created by the bucket load.

At the start of the season, I predicted it would be a season of transition for Fulham and I’d be happy with a top twelve finish considering the past 2 years. As much as I don’t want to get carried away and start looking too hopeful, there’s no denying the quality we have in this squad. Without a shadow of doubt, it’s our strongest squad we’ve had in the Championship and would probably outclass the squad that got us relegated from the Premier League. Should we manage to keep our stars injury free and in form, there’s no reason why we can’t achieve big things this season. Yes, last month’s form was tough but we are going to have those games as the squad settles, but now that they are settling down and getting used to the style, we are seeing big rewards.

Another example of that was the performance in the derby against Brentford. A game that comes with massive pressure due to the importance of it to the fans, and it was a game the squad didn’t shy away from. The team played as a unit from back to front, and on another day Fulham could have scored 4 or 5 with the chances that were being carved out. I know I’ve sung the praises of midfield and attacking talent in recent weeks, I can’t overlook the back to back clean sheets either.

With the return of Ryan Fredericks & Tomas Kalas, Fulham’s back line looks immensely stronger. In my eyes, Kalas has been a complete revelation in defence for Fulham. The Czech from Chelsea has all the attributes to succeed in the modern game. He’s quick to cover ground and he’s exceptional with the ball at his feet too. While, I hope and pray that there’s a chance for him to be at Fulham for the long-term, I’m very happy he’s here for this season at least and will be key to this season’s final position in the table. As for Fredericks, it’s great to see him back in the side. Arguably the fastest player we’ve had at the club, his work ethic and influence at both ends of the pitch is key to the way Jokanovic wants to play. With the pace Fredericks possesses, it allows him to join in with the likes of Piazon & Aluko in wider areas, forcing a 2 on 1 situation against their full-back, or if their winger tracks back too, creates space inside for the likes of Johansen and Cairney to operate. While, Denis Odoi created headlines earlier in the season, Fredericks seems to have the starting spot on the team sheet for now, being the better all-round full-back that is required.

There’s definitely a lot of reasons to be optimistic at Fulham right now and I’m really excited to see how strongly we finish 2016. I’m also really excited for the Brighton game as it’s a fixture I’ve missed, so I’m looking forward to finally visiting the Amex!

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of ‘The Craven Corner’ – it is greatly appreciated!

Please feel free to share the article on your feeds, and if you have any thoughts or feedback, please don’t hesitate to tweet me @ABronsSmith.