No humiliation for Norwich this time - Game preview - Norwich (h)

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 31: Simeon Jackson of Norwich City celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Fulham at Carrow Road on December 31, 2011 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The last time Norwich City visited Craven Cottage in a league fixture, they failed to muster a goal while conceding six and fell out of the Premier League as a rather damning consequence. It was a somewhat more illustrious day for Chris Coleman and his sporadically decent reign as Fulham manager but there is a definite feeling that these two sides provide entirely different obstacles now.

Norwich are far more efficient this time around and play the role of the pragmatic fighter - jabbing hard when they need to and picking up points when most necessary. Fulham currently possess no such luxuries but do have a team capable of something resembling elegant football. We are by no means the Total Football fundamentalists it was made out we could be under Martin Jol, but we have our progressive qualities and the roles of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey, both midfielders by trade, prove as much.

In that sense, this becomes a tough match to foresee. The Norwich of old will certainly not be visiting the Cottage as Paul Lambert has made them into an exquisitely competent outfit but Fulham, even with all their inadequacies this season, boast a squad well capable of breezing past this newly acclimatised Premier League club.

The Canaries' form of late hasn't been all that impressive, it must be said, with only one win mustered from their last five outings. Their poor run of form was halted, however, by last weekend's win over Wolves which propelled them to 11th in the table - 3 points above us.

Fulham, meanwhile, have shown themselves to be the epitome of inconsistency. Having won three games in a row, they have now failed to win an equal amount and have reached a trough which has left them in 13th place - merely weeks after being labelled potential top eight candidates. That seems an unlikely destination now but the top ten is well within reach.

When we travelled to Carrow Road for the reverse fixture in December, we left with a respectable 1-1 draw that had failed to reflect Fulham's first half dominance. Orlando Sa scored a fine goal for the away side but Simeon Jackson responded in the 94th minute, leaving a sour taste in the mouth of Martin Jol.

Anthony Pilkington is a doubt for the visitors, while confirmed absentees include Daniel Ayala and James Vaughan.

For Fulham, Alex Kacaniklic is expected to play some role after being recalled from a successful spell at Championship side Watford. Steve Sidwell, Orlando Sa, Andy Johnson and Zdenek Grygera will not feature, though.

Predicted line up: Schwarzer; Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Kelly; Dempsey, Murphy, Dembele, Duff; Ruiz, Pogrebnyak

Score prediction: Fulham 2-0 Norwich

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