The Cottage fortress faces latest test - Preview - Everton (h)

Alex Livesey

Despite a brilliant home record, Fulham face a huge test when David Moyes' side visit on Saturday.

Martin Jol says they're the 'best of the rest' - whether that be a compliment or not. What is more certain, though, regardless of home comfort, is that Everton travel to Craven Cottage in fine form and even with only three points dropped so far in SW6, taking anything on Saturday will be no mean feat.

Normally a side that struggle in the season's dawn, David Moyes' side have sprung into life and, Tottenham aside, look like the only team truly threatening the customary top three monopoly. It begs the questions as to whether they can sustain any push up the league into the campaign's latter reaches but, if previous years are anything to go by, Everton will only get better.

Why the sudden upturn? Well, for once, they've had a summer that didn't consist of mainly player departures and Moyes himself admitted to changing their pre-season setup. They've added players of quality too - namely Kevin Miralas and, on a permanent basis, the powerful Steven Pienaar.

This retention of their core players has meant a consistent start to the season - they've beaten Manchester United and have strolled past the likes of Swansea and Southampton. But, more recently, there has been a minor cause for concern, having drawn three on the trot, exiting October with only three points to boast of.

Fulham, meanwhile, are pressing on nicely behind Everton in the table, 2 points behind and 2 spaces behind, occupying 7th place.

Upon last meeting Everton at the Cottage, Bryan Ruiz scored a sublime chip that proved invaluable and defunct, thanks to two, late Everton goals giving the away side a 3-1 victory. In the reverse tie we lost 4-0, and also lost in the FA Cup - making for particularly drab reading.

Darron Gibson will miss the tie and Kevin Mirallas is a doubt for Everton while, for Fulham, Dimitar Berbatov is expected to be passed fit after a rib injury.

Score prediction: Fulham 1-1 Everton

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