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Fulham face Brentford ~ Ch. Match Preview MD20

last updated Friday 11th December 2015, 12:51 PM

Match Preview

Fulham v Brentford

Championship Match Day 20 1516 at Craven Cottage

Saturday 12th December 2015    KO: 15:00

David Coote (Nottinghamshire)

Stuart Gray
Stuart Gray
His Wiki page
Stuart Gray will take charge of Fulham as they look to end a poor run against West London rivals Brentford at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon.

Still looking for a permanent successor to Kit Symons, Fulham are winless in their last five games and they go up against a Brentford side boosted by the recent appointment of Dean Smith.

Questions still need to be answered, but as Fulham prepare for their latest Championship test, the club's supporters will at least be looking at someone new on the touchline.

Since parting company with Symons early in November, the club have struggled in the search for his replacement and they are still waiting to make an appointment after recently targeting Steve Clarke and Gary Rowett.

A new arrival was confirmed this week when Stuart Gray was recruited as a senior coach, but it remains unclear whether his stay will be temporary, or if success in the role could earn him the job on a permanent basis.

Gray brings Championship experience to the job after his spell with Sheffield Wednesday, and he will be fully aware that he is expected to make an impact on a squad low on confidence after their recent run of poor results.

Without a win since the last day of October, Fulham's struggles were clear last weekend as they slipped to an emphatic 3-0 loss away to Nottingham Forest to leave them in 16th place.

Many expected a possible promotion push from this side, but with seven points currently separating the Cottagers from the playoffs, a response is needed soon to keep those hopes alive.

With the likes of Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele in the squad, fans have every right to be expecting more and Gray may be looking at this weekend as a chance to prove that he can turn their season around.

Brentford manager Dean smith
Brentford manager
Dean smith
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Brentford completed their own difficult search for a new manager by appointing Smith just over a week ago, and he made the perfect start to life after Walsall by guiding the Bees to a comfortable 2-0 win over MK Dons last weekend.

Not only did three points arrive in his first game in charge, but the victory seemed to provide a lift for the club after Lee Carsley had done an admirable job steadying the ship as caretaker boss.

Smith was surely under no illusions when he accepted the challenge of making the switch to Brentford, and he will know that the club's owners expect this side to be pushing for a spot in the playoffs this season.

After making such a good start, the question is now whether Smith is the right man to take Brentford to the next level and with just one point separating them from the playoffs, optimism is high among the supporters.

Plenty will change in the playoffs and the true test of a promotion contender will be consistency.

Carsley's stint in charge ensured Smith arrived with his side in a decent position, but much could also depend on whether the club are willing to invest in the squad in January.

Smith saw his side rise to the occasion in his first game, but the supporters will be hopeful that he is the right man to manage the ambition of the owners with the unique tests of the Championship. Relief arrived for Forest last weekend as they picked up just their second win in 11 games by beating Reading 3-1 thanks to a brace from Nelson Oliveira.

It was proof of the quality within Dougie Freedman's squad as they bounced back from falling behind early on, but Forest fans will be forgiven for not getting too excited about the victory.

The real challenge for Forest is to find the consistency required to climb up the table over the winter, and confidence should have been restored by their impressive display against the Royals.

Freedman's biggest concern will have been seeing his side play well on so many occasions without securing wins, but the performance of Oliveira last weekend comes as a huge boost to a team that has struggled in front of goal.

Only Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, MK Dons and Charlton Athletic have scored less than Forest's tally of 16 goals from 18 league games, meaning that the emergence of Oliveira as a regular scoring threat could be key.

Many believe that a change of luck against Reading was the turning point, but failure to build on the win could see any momentum halted by Fulham. N Forest


  • Brentford dominated the derby last season by following a 2-1 home victory by thrashing the Cottagers 4-1 in the reverse fixture in April after the two sides had previously gone 16 years without meeting in the league.

  • Brentford scored two 90th-minute goals v Fulham in April, through Alan Judge and Jota. Stuart Dallas scored the other two in a 4-1 win at Craven Cottage.

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  • Fulham

  • Fulham have not won at home to Brentford in the league since April 1990, losing three and drawing two of their meetings since.

  • Only Andre Gray (11) has scored more Championship goals than Ross McCormack this season and the Scotsman has five in his last seven.

  • Fulham have conceded 22 goals in their last 11 league games.

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

  • In their last 20 home games, 26 of the 34 goals scored by Fulham have come from forwards, 6 from midfielders and 2 from defenders.

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

  • Fulham last kept a clean sheet at home 6 games ago.

  • Brentford

  • Brentford are unbeaten in their last four away league games (W2 D2) and avoiding defeat at Craven Cottage would give them their best run since March 2014 (11 games).

  • Alan Judge has been involved in 50% of Brentford's goals this season (seven goals, six assists).

  • Brentford have won 45%, drawn 25% and lost 30% of their last 20 away games.

  • In their last 20 away games, 11 of the 28 goals scored by Brentford have come from forwards, 16 from midfielders and 1 from defenders.

  • Brentford have conceded in 75% of their last 20 away games.

  • Brentford last kept a clean sheet away from home 3 games ago.

Source Callum Mulvihill at SportsMole/BBCSports/KickOff
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