Relegation candidates Fulham make the short trip to fellow Londoners Crystal Palace in the Sunday lunchtime kick-off, hoping to build on their vital victory over Sheffield United last weekend.
That win against the Blades made it seven points gained in the space of one productive week for the Cottagers and, having languished in the relegation zone for all but four weeks of this Premier League season so far, they now find themselves within just three points of 17th; another victory here would do them the world of good.
Fulham manager Scott Parker addressed the media before the match — here are his most noteworthy quotes, as per the official Fulham website.
On Crystal Palace
Palace come into the game buoyed by their recent win against bitter rivals Brighton & Hove Albion, one which was achieved in dramatic fashion as Christian Benteke struck deep into stoppage time.
There’s enough of the season remaining for warning signs to be triggered should they fail to beat Fulham here, but the Eagles are currently sitting pretty comfortably in mid-table, and Parker anticipates it will be a tough fixture for his side at Selhurst Park.
“At times they’ve been very good this year and picked up some really good results, so it will be a tough game for us at the weekend, we understand that. They beat us early on in the season so it’s certainly a game we want to go into and win.”
No fewer than 33 years of age separate the two men in the dugout on Sunday, but there appears to be a fairly strong bond between them.
While manager of the England national team, Palace manager Roy Hodgson selected former midfielder Parker as part of his 23-man squad for Euro 2012, and the pair have kept in touch ever since.
“I’ve nothing but admiration and respect for Roy,” Parker said. “I played under Roy with England and I know the detail and how well organised his teams are, and I think you can see that in his Palace team.”
On catching Newcastle
As mentioned above, Fulham’s recent upturn in form has increased their chances of avoiding relegation immeasurably — after being down and out a matter of weeks ago, the Cottagers are now very much back in the mix.
There have been suggestions that Parker and his side are specifically pinpointing Newcastle United as the team to catch, given they are now just three points behind the Magpies and set to play them on the final day of the season; but Parker insists this is not something which has entered the thinking of either him or his team.
“To be fair, I’m honestly not focusing on that, I’m not focusing on who’s in it, who’s around it,” said the 40-year old. “We can’t control what others are doing — who we drag in, who’s around us, is irrelevant really. With 13 games left, I know if we win games, we’ll stay up.”
Instead, the minds of Parker and the Fulham squad have been cast on ensuring they get the best out of themselves week in, week out, and that’s set to remain the way they operate.
The manager hopes this focus on introspection will allow the Cottagers to prolong their run of good form and continue their ascendency up the standings.
“We’ve all seen over the course of the season that teams who put runs together can get themselves out of positions. That’s our main focus. I want us to worry about us, and that’s what we’ve done this year very, very well, and we’ll continue to do that.”