Even though Fulham has been hard to watch this season, I still get antsy during international breaks. Even though they hurt me again and again, I need Fulham games in my life. This is an important match that Fulham should win. If they stay up or go down, this match could be a big reason why.
Cottagers Confidential: MK Dons sit only one point ahead of Fulham, with a far worse goal differential. Why do you think MK Dons can win this match?
The Moo Camp: Simple answer? I’m not sure we can. Longer answer – I don't think that our results have done us justice for a lot of the season. We’ve allowed silly mistakes to cost us games, and really should be sitting comfortably above the relegation spots, but I guess everyone says that. We were perhaps a little naïve about what it took to win in this division to start off with, but we’ve shown in recent weeks that we can dig in and fight for points with the best of them. If Robbo gets the players attitude right, then we’ll beat you, but that really is a big ‘if’ right now. The worrying thing is that we’ve fared better against the teams higher up the table than we have against those around us in recent weeks, so I’m not feeling particularly confident. It’s not what I would consider to be a ‘must-win’ game, great as that would be, but I do think it’s a ‘mustn’t lose’ game for both sides. A point each and we go again on Tuesday.
CC: You've scored the fewest goals in the division, Fulham have conceded the most. This is the opposite of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. How do you think this will turn out?
TMC: It has all the potential to be a frantic, yet ultimately frustrating afternoon doesn’t it? I’m predicting a nil-nil.
CC: If MK Dons do go down, are there any players on the squad Fulham should be interested in signing?
TMC: We’ve got a number of players who would be worth a look – I’d say George Baldock is the next of the academy boys to make a bigger step up, though it might be a little early for him. Daniel Powell (another academy boy) is something of an enigma – on his day he can win you games, but he’s not had many days this season. Darren Potter is our midfield lynchpin – one of those players who you often don’t notice until he misses a match or two, and I think he’s capable of performing consistently at a higher level. Ben Reeves is the other one I’d expect to be playing at a higher level if we do go down.
TMC: Sum up your season for us - how's it gone, how does that compare to your expectations and how is it going to end?
CC: This is a season in which most Fulham supporters thought we would be challenging for a playoff spot, instead we're flirting with relegation. At this point so little has gone right that I'm almost resigned to relegation.
TMC: What needs to change at your club, and what mustn't change?
CC: I have no idea what is wrong. The players the club have brought in have played great defense at other clubs. They get to Fulham and they simply forget how to defend. It was easy to chalk that up to bad coaching. But now that Jokanovic is in charge, it's really hard to use that excuse. If I knew how to fix this club, I'd certainly shout it from the rooftops, but I'm just as confused as everyone else.
TMC: What's your take on the whole Wimbledon move to MK and the subsequent birth of the MK Dons?
CC: To be honest, I didn't really understand all the anger over it for quite sometime. I'm an American, and sports teams moving is just a natural thing here. The NBA team where I live (Seattle) moved to the place where I grew up (Oklahoma). It happens enough here for it to almost become business as usual. But I'm sure the first teams that moved in this country caused just as much commotion as Wimbledon moving. In the future, this kind of thing might happen more. It's going to be easier for a rich guy to buy a team in a smaller local and move them to a bigger venue that it will be to invest wisely in the small club to build them up the old fashioned way. I'm not sure what rules the FA has in place to prevent this, but it's something I could see happening more and more.