Fulham vs Bolton Wanderers Preview: Travel sick Trotters looking to close gap on relegation rivals at Craven Cottage

Fulham host Bolton Wanderers at Craven Cottage in the Championship on Saturday afternoon.

Fulham vs Bolton Wanderers Preview: Travel sick Trotters looking to close gap on relegation rivals at Craven Cottage
(Photo: Ashley Western / CameraSport / Getty Images)

Fulham host Bolton Wanderers at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon, looking to get back to winning ways against the rock-bottom Trotters.

Trotters looking to improve dire away form at the Cottage

Following last weekend’s narrow defeat away at Aston Villa, Slaviša Jokanović’s side are sitting in 10th in the second-tier, four points behind the play-off places.

So far this season, the West Londoners’ have won four, drawn six and lost three of their opening 13 Championship fixtures, so they will be aiming for more consistency, starting when Bolton visit to the banks of the Thames.

Despite propping up the division, Phil Parkinson’s Wanderers make the journey from the North West to the capital buoyed by an upturn in results in their last two outings.

Bolton were winless in the league until a fortnight ago, when they secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory at home to Sheffield Wednesday, although they are still yet to win away.

The Greater Manchester outfit weathered an actual storm, as well as one from their opponents as they earned a point when Queens Park Rangers visited the Macron Stadium last Saturday, meaning they are now five points adrift of safety.

The last meeting between Fulham and Bolton at Craven Cottage was on May 7 2016, as Tom Cairney’s solitary strike gave the hosts a final-day win against a Wanderers side who finished a disastrous campaign bottom, without an away triumph to their name.

Bolton last won a league game at Fulham in November 1992, when Wanderers secured a 4-1 victory in the old Division Two.

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Pre-match talk

Fulham manager Jokanović is hoping that his men can bounce back from last Saturday’s narrow reverse at Aston Villa.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Serbian said that “Bolton are a tough, strong, physical team", adding that "they compete very well."

The Fulham boss talked tactics ahead of the game, saying that the visitors “will press hard during the build-up, and we must be ready for the situation."

Meanwhile, Bolton assistant manager Steve Parkin is looking forward to seeing the Trotters test themselves at Craven Cottage.

Parkin told the club’s official website that "it has been a good week", adding that "it has been a decent week’s training in terms of getting prepared for what will be a tough challenge."

The Trotters assistant manager went on to say that he feels “it is key that we are off and running", acknowledging that his side are up against "a team who have some really technical players".

Parkin remained confident despite Bolton's precarious position, saying that "we have a strong squad to take down there and we are looking forward to the game.”

Team news

Lucas Piazon (ankle) and Sheyi Ojo (dislocated shoulder) will be the only absentees for Fulham.

Midfielder Stefan Johansen will be assessed, following a groin strain, while captain Tom Cairney will be aiming for a first start since August, following a knee injury. 

Bolton boss Parkinson is likely to name an unchanged side from the QPR draw, as Will Buckley could be available, though loanee Josh Cullen faces a fitness battle, other than that, they face no fresh injury issues.