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The Craven Corner: Match Day Programme, 2nd January 2017 V Brighton

In my opinion, Fulham’s squad this season is the strongest it’s been in the last two or three years. There’s no reason why we can’t achieve a Play-Off place by the end of the campaign. While there are still a few things to get right, Slaviša Jokanović has given Fulham an identity once again, and this summer’s business was the most successful for a long, long time. Jokanović, though, must have been gutted to have dropped points away at Wolves and at home to Derby. While a draw against Derby is a decent result, Fulham will need to close games out and be able to defend a lead much more efficiently should they want to mount a top-six push this season. Dropping points at Wolves was huge, especially after the Whites were cruising 3-1. Although Chris Martin couldn’t feature against his parent club Derby, the Scotsman has proved his value to Fulham over the last month, and fans were treated to some of his best performances.

Should Martin continue his fine form over the rest of the season, Fulham supporers will be praying the Club sign him on a permanent basis. Even though Stefan Johansen was subbed in the first half on his debut, the Norwegian midfielder has now become one of the Club’s most valued players. Since Jokanović switched to a midfield trio of Kevin McDonald, Tom Cairney and Johansen, Fulham have managed to control games with comfortable ease in the centre of the park. With Johansen’s work ethic and quality at both ends of the pitch, Cairney has been allowed a free role to express himself and become the architect of most of our attacks. Johansen’s rise at Fulham isn’t just pleasing for the fans, but it should be used as an inspiration for any of the players who’ve struggled to secure regular game time. Johansen has come in, adapted his style to fit the side and has now become a vital cog in Jokanović’s machine.

Brighton will prove to be a big test for Fulham today, but the Whites can take positives from the first half of the reverse fixture. Fulham were the better team for 60 minutes until two lapses of concentration allowed the hosts to score twice. If Fulham want to get promoted this season, a victory today would prove we have the quality needed to succeed. Make your voices heard this afternoon and let’s get Craven Cottage rocking. It’s a new year and a new start for our side to achieve something special. Believe!

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