Cottagers Confidential: You're currently just behind Fulham and are sporting quite a bad goal differential. How much confidence do you have that you can stay up? If you lose this game, what does it do to that confidence?
The Exiled Robin: If you’d asked me a couple of weeks ago this would have been a very different answer. Form that led new boss Lee Johnson to being nominated for the February Manager of the Month award led us eight points clear of the bottom three and everything was looking rosy. However, two defeats later, coupled with Rotherham’s burst of wins and all the other teams picking up points has left us staring down the barrel again. I still believe deep down we’ll be OK – Rotherham can’t keep winning (can they?) and from what I’ve seen of them, Bolton and Charlton aren’t good enough to stay up, but there is no time to be too relaxed.
Losing this game could affect confidence in that it would mean three defeats in a row, but certainly wouldn’t be catastrophic, unless Rotherham were to win again and plunge us back into the relegation zone. Then it might be a greater problem.
CC: Why will this result be different than the last meeting? What would make it be the same?
TER: If we play like we have in games recently, it could well be the same result! Our form away from home, however, has been our saving grace this season and our heavy defeats have mainly come at home, which is unusual. Recent wins at Forest, Milton Keynes and Charlton have shown what we’re capable of on the road. We’re now set up playing four at the back, instead of the three centre-halves which was how we played the first half of the season. That has, until the last few games, made us look more solid and hopefully with two bona-fide fullbacks now operating, we have a better, more organised feel to our play.
CC: Which player on the squad should Fulham focus on stopping?
TER: The main goal threat in recent weeks has been big centre-half Aden Flint, who has five goals since the turn of the year, mainly from set-pieces. In all honesty we don’t look like scoring many from open play, but Luke Freeman down the right flank can create problems if given space – we just don’t seem to have anyone up front to take advantage from his trickery and crosses.
CC: Predicted Lineup and score?
TER: Genuinely it could be any result, depending which team turns up for us. We’ve shown we can go anywhere in this league and compete when we want to. I’ll go for a 2-2 draw and can only see Flint and Kodjia scoring for us.
Our line-up is likely to be 4-2-3-1; O’Donnell; Matthews, Flint, Baker, Golbourne; Pack, Bryan; Wagstaff, Tomlin, Freeman; Kodjia