Forward of Saturday’s match, we caught up with Dan Smith from the superb Fulham weblog, Fulham Focus, to search out out what we are able to anticipate from our opening day opponents.
What are your hopes and fears for the season?
It’s the hope that kills you proper? I believe given our place coming down from the Premier League plus, having spent £100 million final summer time, it might be fairly worrying if we weren’t hoping to be within the combine for computerized promotion. We’ve stored nearly all of our squad collectively, Cairney and Mitrovic have signed new contracts while we’ve added high quality with Cavaleiro and Knockaert out extensive. We’ve got probably the most effective attacking line within the division so something wanting prime 6 actually shall be underwhelming.
On the flip facet, we now have a supervisor who’s taking up his first managerial position in a season the place it’s important that we’re promoted. We’ve got a brand new Riverside stand being constructed and it’ll seem like a white elephant, failing to fulfill the company market that it’s being aimed toward if we keep out of the highest flight for too lengthy, so he’s underneath strain instantly to ship. Add to that our defence, you couldn’t be given a much bigger distinction between assault and defence in the event you tried. We’re but to signal any defenders to enhance on the second worst targets conceded report in Premier League historical past and if Barnsley are to have any pleasure towards us, it’ll be at that finish of the sphere with an in-form Woodrow coming again to hang-out us.
Which Fulham participant ought to the Reds be most petrified of?
Take your decide from the entrance 4. Cavaleiro, Mitrovic, Knockaert with Tom Cairney behind them orchestrating the assaults. It truly is a devastating line up at this stage. We’re but to see ‘Cav’ or Knockaert play as this shall be their debuts. However figuring out what he’s able to, I’ve to stay with ‘Mitro’ as the primary menace. When he joined us within the January of our final promotion, no defender on this league might deal with him. He’s now fitter and settled in Fulham and that doesn’t make good studying for centre backs within the Championship.
How do you assume you’ll do that season?
As talked about above, I believe we shall be closely reliant on our assault to win us video games. So it needs to be a really entertaining season with targets galore at each ends. My concern is that behind each good staff there’s a good defence and it’s unattainable to gauge our potential based mostly on that. However I’m eternally the optimist and I’m going to quietly whisper that I really feel we ‘ought to’ win the league or not less than be a powerful contender. Our squad on paper value considerably greater than everybody else’s so by rights I believe that’s a good assumption to make relatively than a cocky one. If we don’t there could be no excuses and worst methods I’m hoping for prime 4 for the house benefit within the playoffs.
What are your ideas on Barnsley, and which participant would you’re taking from us?
I’ve all the time seen you as a second tier membership and it’s good to see you again. With a lot cash coming down with the failed Premier League golf equipment, plus so many sleeping giants on this division, it’s going to be arduous for the likes of Luton, yourselves and Charlton to compete past mid-table. You face 5 actually necessary video games after us, all towards sides that I anticipate to be within the backside half of the league. So the six pointers begin from the off and your season will probably be decided by how nicely you do in these early video games, similar to it will likely be for many golf equipment. I believe you’ll survive however shall be down there within the combine together with 6 or 7 others.
We’ve got put all our eggs in a single basket with Mitrovic up prime and have little or no cowl if he was to get injured. So Cauley Woodrow being the tried and trusted could be a secure wager. He struggled to make an impression right here however as a backup who will solely be wanted in emergencies (due to ‘Mitro’s’ match, he performs), we might do rather a lot worse.
Any fond reminiscences of journeys to Oakwell?
It needs to be the 1-3 victory throughout our 23 recreation unbeaten run within the 2017/18 promotion season. You had been 1 up earlier than Dimitri Cavare found the purple mist and man dealt with Stefan Johansen foolishly simply earlier than half time. You had been controlling the sport up till that time but it surely gave us a platform to develop into the sport. We nicked it in harm time with a extremely scrappy aim from Kevin McDonald scrambling it over the aim line and Sessegnon rounded it off a minute or so later for 3-1. It’s all the time a great journey house once you rating a late winner and Oakwell usually is an efficient away day.
Any not so fond ones?
None that stick out however I’ve simply appeared it up and we’ve solely misplaced to you as soon as up at yours in my lifetime and I used to be born in 88! In order that bodes nicely!
Lastly, rating prediction?
It’s the worst time to be taking part in a promoted staff away from house. Every part is hunky dory and there’s no strain but. Plus, we haven’t stored any clear sheets throughout pre season and ex gamers (this time Woodrow) all the time appear to do nicely towards us. So, I’m going to go along with a 2-4 win to Fulham. That fireside energy proving the distinction after a really nervy begin.