Fulham begins a crucial week in the Championship when welcoming Brentford in a London derby Friday evening. The Cottagers begin the weekend in third place in the Championship, trailing the final automatic promotion spot by six points. With Brentford in fourth place, it is not only a London-clash but a top match as well.
Automatic promotion seems a done deal for Brentford with the Bees being 10 points adrift of West Bromwich in second place. Fulham is still able to catch the Baggies, but the coming two matches decide whether it is the playoffs again for Fulham this season or going straight up is an option. After this game, they travel to league leaders Leeds United on Tuesday.
Two wins and they could be on their way back to the Premier League. Poor results and they could suddenly be facing a struggle to finish in the play-off positions. Fulham is unbeaten in their last four league games with two wins and two draws. They have the best home record in the Championship with 12 wins but do have the occasional off day. Five home games have been lost but their last two have been won without conceding.
Thomas Frank recently awarded manager of the season in London, will be hoping his side consolidate their play-off spot. The best they can hope for is probably exactly that. They have not been in the best of a form of late, losing ground on the top two. It had been five league games without a win before beating out-of-form Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 at the Griffin Park.
Away form has been a problem with only one win in their last five. They have amassed seven wins away from home in the Championship this season, but eight defeats so far will probably prove costly in the end. Fulham can make that nine with a home win in this game. The Cottagers will be desperate to win this match as they prepare for their key match with Leeds United. Defeat at Craven Cottage tonight and it is difficult to see them gaining direct promotion.
Fulham has the best home league record and has won without conceding in their last two. Brentford had a good win over out-of-form Sheffield Wednesday last weekend but have been struggling of late. The only problem for Fulham? They have not won their last six home matches against Brentford and we are not going up against a stat like that. Take the double X2 or go straight for the draw.