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Fulham vs Reading Preview: Three questions with the Tilehurst End

How long ago does that 4-2 win against Reading seem now? We sit down with our friends at The Tilehurst End to preview the return fixture.

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Cottagers Confidential: So Fulham almost took Steve Clarke off your hands, but he returned to the club only to be sacked. What was the feeling about that whole situation from the supporters? Are you glad to see him go? Is McDermott a good choice going forward?

The Tilehurst End: I really don't know how our season would have panned out had we not choked that two-goal lead in such spectacular fashion at Craven Cottage back in October. We were flying high and battling for automatic promotion and then it all crumbled away. Clarke might just have survived that downturn in form had he not gone and spoken to you but from that point he really alienated a group of the fanbase and reportedly very much annoyed our Thai owners who felt a little betrayed by it. Results buy you time in football but the combination of those talks and a miserable slump did Clarke in.

Were we happy to see him go? Around 50% of a poll we ran just before the axe came said they wanted him given more time so it wasn't an overwhelming angry mob that got him out, even if the vast majority understood the decision. As for Brian McDermott again he has work to do to win over a group that thought he screwed up our Premier League campaign three years ago but by and large most people are happy to see him given another chance after doing so well for us in the Championship before.

CC: Pavel Pogrebnyak, Orlando Sa, Zat Knight, Chris Baird. Reading sure has seemed to like ex Fulham players over the years. Though, looking at the success Fulham has had I'm not sure why. Did any of them work out at all? Which Fulham player do you have on to be the next one to suit up for you?

TTE: Well you don't really have to move house do you? So that's got to be an appealing reason to join us ;) Pog was well loved by the fans although he never justified the huge contract he was on, Sa started in fine fashion but flamed out very quickly to the point we flogged him in January and Knight was just used as cover for six months last season. Chris Baird could have done very well for us but the club was all but broke and we couldn't afford to keep him on. We also have the brother of Collins John on our books in Ola John who's one to watch out for.

I'd love us to sign Dembele or McCormack but neither are likely in our price range these days. I always thought Dan Burn had potential when I saw him play for Yeovil a few years ago but he might just be too similar to our own Jake Cooper now. Otherwise there's not much in your squad that you'd reliably say would improve our own, beyond either short-term fixes or punts on the potential of a man like Woodrow.

Sadly there's a good reason you're below us in the table.

CC: This is another year with little chance of promotion and little chance of relegation. What are your goals for the rest of the year? What are you looking forward to for next season?

TTE: For the second year running we're on a fantastic FA Cup run and face Crystal Palace next Friday for a spot in the semi-finals.

Beyond that we do have the faintest of play-off hopes and a win over yourselves and other results going our way could leave us nine points behind with a game in hand. Still, as you say, realistically there's not much to aim for so we just want to see Brian build some momentum and for younger players to continue their progression and be ready to hit the ground running next season.

CC: Predicted Lineup, score?

TTE: Prediction: 1-0 Reading

Predicted Lineup: (4-1-4-1) Al-Habsi, Obita, Cooper, McShane, Gunter, Hector, John, Norwood, Quinn, Robson-Kanu, Kermorgant