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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Wednesday, February 21st 2018

Big Match Preview: Fulham (home)

City return to Ashton Gate seeking a league double over Fulham tonight (7.45pm kick-off).

The Robins are unbeaten in their last two outings, following draws against Sunderland and Leeds United respectively, but Fulham head to BS3 in good spirits, having not lost themselves in their last ten Championship fixtures.

The Cottagers also boast the best possession and passing stats in the league this year, and with an undefeated run at the Gate stretching all the way back to 1992, the London club will be confident.

However, an historic win for City at a busy Ashton Gate will see them leapfrog fifth-placed Fulham, and keep themselves well within the play-off places.


Formed: 1879
Nickname: The Cottagers
Twitter: @FulhamFC
Ground: Craven Cottage
Capacity: 25,700

First Division: 2000/01
First Division runners-up: 1958/59
Second Division: 1931/32, 1948/49, 1998/99
Second Division runners-up: 1970/71
Third Division runners-up: 1996/97
Third Division: 1987/88
FA Cup runners-up: 1975
Europa League runners-up: 2010
Intertoto Cup: 2002

Last season:
League finish: 6th (lost in the play-off semi-finals)
FA Cup: Fifth round, lost to Tottenham Hotspur
EFL Cup: Third round, lost to Bristol City
Top scorer: Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen, 13 goals
Average attendance: 18,498


Promotion-chasing Fulham, the oldest-established London club to have featured in the Premier League, were relegated from the top flight in 2014 after 13 consecutive seasons in England's highest division.

The Cottagers have spent the last four campaigns in the Championship, narrowly missing out on promotion via the play-offs last year.

And they are right back in the mix this term, having lost just seven league matches to date.

While City ran out 2-0 winners at Craven Cottage back in October – one of just two home defeats for Fulham so far this season – the Cottagers arrive at Ashton Gate tonight on the back of a ten-match unbeaten run in the league,

Slavisa Jokanovic is hoping to guide Fulham to the Premier League as he did with Watford

MEET THE GAFFER - Slavisa Jokanovic

After relieving Kit Symons of his duties at the Cottage, Fulham went more than 50 days without a head coach before striking a deal with Jokanovic.

The 49-year-old began his managerial career in 2007, winning two consecutive doubles with Partizan, before leading Watford to the Premier League.

Contract talks then broke down at 55 Vicarage Road so the former Chelsea player took charge of Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he guided them to the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in their history.

His return to English football came just six months later after the Cottagers agreed compensation with the football club.

His contract was extended with the West London outfit a year ago, keeping him at the club until 2019.

One to watch: Ryan Sessegnon


One of the most exciting prospects in the Championship right now, it’s as though Sessegnon can do no wrong. He’s loving life with high-flying Fulham: he’s been compared to Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale, starred in Nike’s new LDNR advert and picked up the Sky Bet Player of the Month award for January.

The 17-year-old England winger is the club’s top scorer this season, leading the way with double figures following the creative freedom to push further up the pitch.

He has dangerous pace too and having established himself at such a young age, he looks to be one to watch for many years.

Reid hit double figures for the season at Craven Cottage


Fulham 0-2 Bristol City

Goals: Reid 29, Smith 40.

Milestone goals from Bobby Reid and Korey Smith ensured a Halloween treat for the travelling City fans, as the Robins beat Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

First half strikes from Reid - his tenth of the season - and a first league goal for Smith did the damage against their opponents who ended the game with ten men.

Fulham had scored in every game since the start of September but City knew a win could keep them within a point of third-placed Cardiff City.

And the game started with high intensity; Joe Bryan firing over within the first minute as he tried to replicate that special goal against Crystal Palace, before Stefan Johansen also went close for the hosts.

Callum O’Dowda came within inches from breaking the deadlock just minutes later but for a fine, low save from David Button.

The home side soon began to flex muscles of their own and only the crossbar denied Ryan Sessegnon from opening the scoring. The wing back was in again just seconds later, after latching on to a Hordur Magnusson clearance but he dragged his shot wide.

Reid, who talked of his “natural”  transition into a striker ahead of the fixture, put City ahead with a milestone goal. Korey Smith pinged a cross-field pass to Josh Brownhill, who squared a first-time pass to Reid in the box for a simple tap in. That was Reid’s tenth goal of the campaign and marked his second goal at Craven Cottage in as many outings.

And the Robins doubled their advantage through Smith’s first league goal for the club. O’Dowda - making his third assist in two games - burst down the right-hand side, pulled a pass back across goal, where Smith pounced with a first-time shot that was tucked into the bottom left corner.

Fulham: Button, Odoi, Ream, Kalas (Norwood 45), Ryan Sessegnon, McDonald, Johansen (Soares 67), Cairney, Fredericks, Floyd Ayité (Fonte 45), Kamara. Subs not used: Djalo, Kebano, Bettinelli, De La Torre.

City: Fielding, Bryan, Pisano (Magnusson 9), Flint, Wright, Pack (Djuric 77), Paterson (Leko 69), Smith, Brownhill, O'Dowda, Reid. Subs not used: Steele, Taylor, Vyner, Eliasson.


Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Adam Matthews and Nigel Lugg
Fourth Official: Robert Lewis

Betting (via SkyBet)
City 13/8
Draw 13/5
Fulham 6/4