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Fulham visit Huddersfield ~ Ch. Match Preview 39

last updated Saturday 21st March 2015, 9:55 AM


Fulham Manager Kit Symons
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With just eight matches of the Championship season remaining, Fulham's fate is far from certain in the battle to avoid back-to-back relegations.

The Cottagers have picked up just one win from their last 13 outings in all competitions and slumped to their 20th league defeat of the season at home to Leeds United on Wednesday night - only Blackpool have lost more.

Kit Symons's side actually had the better of things for much of that midweek match, but they ended the game with 10 men after Konstantinos Stafylidis picked up two bookings in the space of a minute and they ultimately succumbed to a 3-0 defeat - their second heavy reverse in a row at Craven Cottage.

That leaves them only six points clear of the bottom three, and they will be keeping their fingers crossed that Wigan Athletic are unable to build on their recent run of three wins from their last five matches in the closing stages of the campaign.

The Latics' improvement has already begun to increase the pressure on Fulham, however, and the West Londoners can have few complaints at their perilous position. Six points from the last 33 available is relegation form in any division.

Symons has targeted three more victories to ensure their safety, and with half of their remaining games coming against teams in the bottom half, survival is still very much in their hands.

Defensively they have been shambolic at times this season, with only Blackpool conceding more goals in the second tier, but they will hope to have the firepower needed to keep themselves at arm's length of trouble.

No team has scored more goals than Fulham outside the top 10, but they could be without Ross McCormack this weekend after he picked up a knock to his knee during the defeat against his former club.

Fellow Leeds alumnus Matt Smith was as guilty as anyone of missing chances during that match as Fulham somehow failed to score despite having 27 shots and hitting the woodwork three times, but the big striker is expected to retain his place up top.

Hugo Rodallega, without a goal in his last six games, is likely to be the man to replace McCormack should the striker not pass a fitness test, although Cauley Woodrow, who has scored just once in the league since Christmas, is also an option.

Stafylidis is suspended following his mindless red card that drew a subsequent apology from the left wing-back, which could force Symons to switch from his recent preferred system of playing three centre-backs.

The Cottagers are yet to win on their travels this year and only two teams have amassed fewer away points than them all season, so Huddersfield Town will be confident that they can take another step towards mathematical safety themselves.

The Terriers extended the gap between them and the bottom three to 10 points on Tuesday night, and it could have been even larger but for a 98th-minute equaliser from title-chasing Norwich City.

Despite the draw arriving in agonising circumstances, after Huddersfield themselves had taken the lead in the 95th minute, a point against the Canaries is a good result for Chris Powell's side and they will surely not be dragged back into the relegation mire in the closing months of the season.

They will not want their campaign to peter out, however, and a winless run of five matches going into this weekend's game suggests that it is on course to do just that.

They currently reside in 17th place - the position they occupied at the end of last season - while they are nine points short of their tally for the previous campaign.

Improvement on that finish could be the main aim in the closing stages of this season, but Town were dealt a blow this week by the news that on-loan Jack Robinson will be ruled out for up to a year with a serious knee injury.

There could better news up front, with Nahki Wells pushing for a return from injury to fill the gap left by the suspended James Vaughan, who was booked twice and scored in an eventful two-minute period deep into injury time in midweek.

Ishmael Miller, who opened the scoring in that match and drew praise from Powell for his performance, suffered cramp on Tuesday night but is fit for the weekend, while Jake Carroll is also available for selection.

Joe Lolley is edging ever closer to a return but is not expected to be fit in time for Saturday, while Harry Bunn is definitely out.

Fulham are unbeaten in their last six meetings with the Terriers and have won their last four, including a 3-1 triumph in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage back in November.

    Head-to-head

  • Fulham won the earlier meeting this season 3-1 at Craven Cottage in November.


  • They are unbeaten in the last six encounters, winning the last four. Huddersfield's last win was 1-0 at home in the old Division Two in September 1993.


  • Fulham won the last meeting at Huddersfield 2-1 in the old Division One in April 2001 - their only win in the last six meetings there.



  • Huddersfield Town


  • Chris Powell's side have not won any of their last five games, losing three. Their last victory was 3-0 against Reading at home on 24 February.


  • They have won only one of their last six games at the John Smith's Stadium, drawing two and losing three.


  • Huddersfield have won 35%, drawn 30% and lost 35% of their last 20 home games.


  • Huddersfield have scored 1 goal or less in 12 of their last 20 home games, going on to win 0, draw 5 and lose 7 of these matches.


  • In their last 20 home games, 20 of the 26 goals scored by Huddersfield have come from forwards, 3 from midfielders and 2 from defenders.


  • Huddersfield have conceded in 75% of their last 20 home games.


  • Huddersfield have scored first in 45% of their last 20 home games.



  • Fulham


  • Kit Symons' men have won only one of their last 13 games in all competitions. Their only win since mid-January was 2-0 against Derby at home in the Championship on 28 February.


  • Fulham have not won any of their last eight away games in the Championship, losing six. Their last league win on the road was 1-0 at Leeds on 13 December.


  • Fulham have won 15%, drawn 20% and lost 65% of their last 20 away games.


  • Fulham have scored 1 goal or less in 15 of their last 20 away games, going on to win 1, draw 2 and lose 12 of these matches.


  • In their last 20 away games, 13 of the 21 goals scored by Fulham have come from forwards, 4 from midfielders and 4 from defenders.


  • Fulham have conceded in 90% of their last 20 away games


  • Fulham have scored first in 15% of their last 20 away games.
























Source Barney Corkhill at SportsMole/BBCSports/KickOff
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