Match Preview: Fulham v Norwich City

Ben Hoskins

The very definition of a Relegation Six-Pointer. For the neutral, this is likely the first match all season involving either of these clubs that gets the blood pumping. For Fulham supporters and Norwich supporters, this match will be a ninety-minute heart attack.

If you have any karmic favors to call in, now is the time to do it. Fulham host Norwich City at Craven Cottage Saturday in a match that is the very definition of a Relegation Six-pointer. The Cottagers sit five points behind the Canaries who dangle just the above the relegation zone in seventeenth position. A win sees Fulham close the gap to two points and puts Felix Magath's boys in a position to take advantage of the club's favorable run-in against the likes of Hull City, Stoke, and Crystal Palace. A loss? Well, have you ever seen Touching The Void? It's sort of like that, but instead of being cut loose, plummeting into a crevasse, and stumbling over a glacier to eventually arrive safely back at camp imagine the sequence ending after "plummeting into a crevasse".

Fulham must win.

For their part, the Canaries are presently looking less like songbirds and more like avian carbon monoxide detectors stuck in the bottom of a coal mine. Chris Hughton was given the ax last week after seemingly safe Norwich suddenly slid to its current position just above the bottom three. His replacement, Neil Adams, is surely counting on three points from this match to keep Norwich in the Premier League as the Norfolk club still has to play Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal.

Norwich must win.

Fulham will give a late fitness test to Johnny Heitinga whose inclusion in the Fulham back four is a near necessity if the Cottagers are going to gain the points they need in this match. Kostas Mitroglou, whom Magath suggested earlier would be fit for this match, is not fit for this match. The £12,000,000 striker apparently has a £12,000,001 knee and it looks for all the world as if he will not play for Fulham this season. I suspect Magath is not at all troubled by this as the faces he's selected to keep Fulham in the Premier League are, at this point, well and truly established. Expect to see an XI very similar, if not identical, to the side that travelled to Birmingham last weekend.

Norwich will be without Leroy Fer (hamstring) is the most important player unavailable for selection by Neil Adams.

Something has to give. Fulham will be hoping the chaos and poor form Norwich have been besieged by of late travels with the Canaries to West London. The Norwich players will know, regardless of who is in charge of the club, that tomorrow's match is the biggest of their season and likely represents Premier League survival. Should be a cracker.

COYW!

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