Fulham vs Reading Preview: Cottagers looking to keep automatic promotion hopes alive

Fulham vs Reading Preview: Cottagers looking to keep automatic promotion hopes alive

Will Fulham make it 20 unbeaten and keep their automatic promotion hopes alive against a resurgent Reading

Matthew Wojciow

Fulham welcome Reading to Craven Cottage, looking to make it 20 Championship games unbeaten and keep their hopes of catching Cardiff City in second, alive. 

The reverse fixture at the Madejski Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw when former Royals player Lucas Piazon scored a late equaliser for the visitors on the day.

The Cottagers played pretty much the whole game with 10 men when defender Tomas Kalas was dismissed in the opening minute of the match back in August.

Fulham are ready to pounce

Fulham now just sit two points behind Cardiff City in the race for automatic promotion back to the Premier League promised land.

The Bluebirds, however, still have a game in hand over Fulham but have two tricky away games, starting at Villa Park tonight.

Fulham have the West London Derby against Brentford on Saturday meaning that boss Slavisa Jokanovic may have one eye towards that game when making his selection tonight.

"They changed their coach, they’ve tried to be a little bit more solid, a little bit more organised defensively," stated Jokanovic to Fulham's official club site on tonight's opposition. 

"They’re going to drop into an organised shape and try and catch us on the counter-attack."

"From our side, we must show patience, find pace with the ball, try and dominate the game, put them under stress, and try and open up their organised defence."


Paul Clement's revolution 

Paul Clement seems to be working his magic for the second season running. He was able to pull Swansea City out of trouble last season, before a tough start to the season, saw Clement leave the South Wales side.

He recently joined up with Reading at the back end of March. 

Since taking over Clement has won two out of his three games in charge, which has put the Royals in a better standing to beat the drop, which has been looming over them. 

Clement told BBC Radio Berkshire: "You never know in football what can happen. Fulham are a really in-form team, probably the in-form team in the Championship, they're hunting down second place.

"But, you don't know how the game will become for them now psychologically and the pressure that will bring knowing they also need to get a result"

Team News

Boss Jokanovic has a full-strength squad to choose from but with almost one thought certainly towards Saturday meeting with Dean Smith's Brentford, there could be some form of rotation. 

Reading welcome back midfielder Dave Edwards from suspension. Tyler Blackett is being monitored as he missed Saturday's win over Preston through illness.

Paul McShane and Tommy Elphick continue their recoveries from injury. 

Predicted Line-ups

Fulham (4-3-3)

Bettinelli, Fredericks, Ream, Odoi, Targett, Cairney, Johansen, McDonald, Ayite, Mitrovic, Sessegnon 

Reading (4-5-1)

Mannone, Gunter, Ilori, Moore, Richards, Aluko, Bacuna, Evans, Edwards, Barrow, Bodvarsson