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Lee Clark believes Fulham could go up this season

last updated Wednesday 14th December 2016, 11:05 PM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham midfielder Scott Parker
Former Fulham captain
Lee Clark
Lee Clark
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Fulham are among the play-off contenders in the Championship and have a great chance to strengthen their promotion credentials against Rotherham tonight.

They sit just three points outside the top six and are one of 12 teams separated by just 12 points below automatic promotion favourites Newcastle and Brighton.

A top-two finish may look unlikely but former Fulham midfielder Lee Clark believes the club are good enough to go up this season. Clark was at Fulham when they were promoted to the Premier League 15 years ago.

He admits the Championship is now more competitive than ever but, after struggling following their relegation from the top flight, he insists Fulham are ready to challenge for promotion under Slavisa Jokanovic.

“They look like they are getting back on track,” said 44-year-old Clark, who is now manager of Kilmarnock.

“It was a tough period over the last couple of years with the club getting relegated.

They made themselves a Premier League club but one bad season gets you out and it is difficult to get back in.

I want to see them get back in the Premier League.

Maybe this season they can get into the play-offs, they certainly have the squad capable. But the Championship is relentless.”

Fulham have battled against relegation in the two seasons since they dropped out of the Premier League, finishing 17th and 20th.

But there has been significant improvement under Jokanovic this term. He brought in 14 new players in the summer and his side are now much more competitive.

They are the third-highest scorers in the Championship and, despite the 4-4 draw at Wolves, have tightened up a defence that was the third worst in the second tier last season.

Fulham showed their battling qualities at Molineux to rescue a draw and against Rotherham coming back from an early goal to win have suffered just one defeat in seven.

Jokanovic took Watford up to the Premier League automatically two seasons ago and Clark believes his know-how could be key in the race for the play-offs.

“They have got a manager who is very experienced and who has been very successful in the Championship at Watford,” he said.

“Hopefully the Premier League will not be too far away.

“They are set up for it with their infrastructure and academy.”

Clark has fond memories of his six years at Fulham, where he won a First Division title in 2001 and finished ninth in the Premier League under Jean Tigana.

So does he think Fulham can get back to those heights?

“Once they are back in the Premier League, because of the status of the club, it is something I hope they can do,” he said.

“To get into the Premier League and the way we got stronger and stronger.

At the time ninth was our highest finish.

I love going back there, I still keep in touch with people at the club and love the place.”

Lee Clark’s autobiography, Black or White — no Grey Areas, is out now

Source Giuseppe Muro at Evening Standard
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