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Fulham face Brentford ~ Ch. Match Preview MD40

last updated Friday 03rd April 2015, 10:26 AM

Fulham Manager Kit Symons
Fulham Manager
Kit Symons
Kit Symons
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Craven Cottage will play host to a West London derby on Good Friday as Fulham take on Brentford for the third time this season.

Both sides still have plenty to fight for at either end of the Championship table and could see their respective goals edge ever closer should they successfully negotiate an Easter period that sees two games in quick succession.

The Cottagers would have begun the season looking for an immediate return to the Premier League following their relegation from the top flight in the 2013-14 season, but they were quickly forced to reassess their goals and now the aim of the game is purely survival with seven matches of the season remaining.

An eight-point gap currently separates Kit Symons's side from the bottom three going into the final straight, but with Wigan Athletic showing signs of improvement in recent weeks, nothing is yet guaranteed for the Londoners.

Their saving grace could well be their run-in, with three of the bottom four still to come in successive matches later this month. Results in those games will determine whether that is a blessing or a curse, but Symons will be glad that his side have their fate in their own hands.

After Friday's clash with Brentford, Fulham's only remaining matches against teams currently in the top 10 of the table are their last two of the season, by which time they will hope to have their Championship status guaranteed for another term at least. Compare that to Wigan, who have four of the top eight still to come, and the advantage very much lies with Fulham.

Momentum can so often be a priceless commodity in football, though, and for that reason Fulham's 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town could be worth its weight in gold come the end of the season.

Symons labelled it the most bizarre match he has ever been involved in, with Huddersfield striker Nahki Wells missing two penalties, the woodwork being struck three times and the referee sending the wrong player off before reversing his decision and eventually dismissing Sam Hutchinson.

Fulham certainly rode their luck to pick up the win, but they would argue that they were due a slice of fortune having been beaten 3-0 by Leeds United just days earlier in a match they controlled for long spells.

However the victory arrived, the most important thing for the Cottagers was the three points. It was only their second triumph in 14 matches and could be the catalyst to push them over the finishing line this season.

They have only managed back-to-back wins once since the turn of the year, though, and home form is also an issue with just one win from their last six outings in front of their own fans.

The odds at the start of the season would have had Brentford finishing not too far from where their London rivals and Good Friday opponents currently find themselves, but Mark Warburton's side have maintained their surprise promotion bid and remain right in the mix going into the final month or so of the season.

Victory on Friday would lift the Bees up to fifth place in the table for a few hours at least, with Ipswich Town and Derby County both involved in late kickoffs against fellow promotion candidates.

Just one defeat in their last five matches has enabled Brentford keep pace with those around them, although they have been helped in that regard by regular slip-ups above them.

Brentford slipped up themselves at home to Millwall in another London derby before the international break, although the 2-2 draw at Griffin Park could have been even worse. The Lions led 2-0 until the 85th minute and looked certain to give their own survival hopes a boost, but late goals from Alex Pritchard and Moses Odubajo rescued a point for the hosts.

It is now six games since the Bees kept a clean sheet, however, and in a playoff race so fiercely contested, the fact that they have the worst defensive record in the top eight could prove to be important in terms of goal difference.

Another area that could do with improvement is their away form, with last month's victory over Blackburn Rovers their first in four games on the road. Indeed, Brentford have lost more games on their travels this season than any other side in the top half.

Warburton's future at the club has already been decided, and he will be keen to extend his stay from seven remaining matches to 10 by reaching the playoffs and making it to Wembley.

Easter weekend could prove to be the most important yet in that regard, with Brentford facing playoff outsiders Nottingham Forest on Monday and all of the top eight apart from Norwich playing at least one other contender for promotion.


  • Brentford won the earlier league meeting this season 2-1 at Griffin Park in November - their only win in the last six meetings in all competitions.

  • Brentford are unbeaten in the last five meetings at Fulham in all competitions, winning three. Fulham's last win at home was 1-0 in the old Division Three in April 1990.

  • Fulham

  • Fulham won their last game 2-0 at Huddersfield on 21 March - their first win in five games.

  • Fulham have lost their last two home games - 5-1 against Bournemouth on 6 March and 3-0 against Leeds on 18 March.

  • Fulham have won 40%, drawn 20% and lost 40% of their last 20 home games.

  • Fulham have scored 1 goal or less in 11 of their last 20 home games, going on to win 1, draw 2 and lose 8 of these matches.

  • In their last 20 home games, 17 of the 30 goals scored by Fulham have come from forwards, 7 from midfielders and 6 from defenders.

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

  • Fulham have scored first in 50% of their last 20 home games.

  • Brentford

  • Brentford have lost only one of their last five games. Their only defeat since February was 2-1 against Cardiff at home on 14 March.

  • Brentford won their last away game 3-2 at Blackburn on 17 March - their only win in their last four games on the road.

  • Brentford have won 45%, drawn 10% and lost 45% of their last 20 away games.

  • Brentford have scored 1 goal or less in 13 of their last 20 away games, going on to win 2, draw 2 and lose 9 of these matches.

  • In their last 20 away games, 9 of the 26 goals scored by Brentford have come from forwards, 15 from midfielders and 0 from defenders.

  • Brentford have conceded in 80% of their last 20 away games.

  • Brentford have scored first in 40% of their last 20 away games.

Source Barney Corkhill at SportsMole/BBCSports/KickOff
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