Fulham have fluffed automatic promotion before and know they need to finish the job on Tuesday… Marco Silva’s side will be desperate to avoid the transfer trolley-dash that ruined their last two Premier League seasons
- Fulham will be wary to avoid play-offs at all costs after previous difficulties
- The club is bidding to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking
- Their last two promotions came via the play-offs and it harmed recruitment
Having bungled automatic promotion once, Fulham are anxious to finish the job against Preston on Tuesday and avoid a transfer trolley-dash that has blighted their last two Premier League campaigns.
Their last promotions in 2018 and 2020 came through the play-offs, which meant less time to recruit players and then subsequent relegations, first under Slavisa Jokanovic and Claudio Ranieri and then Scott Parker.
Playing catch-up two years ago, they were forced to sign three loan players on deadline day: Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Joachim Andersen and Toisin Adarabioyo. They proved useful players but by the time they clicked, Fulham were already bottom and in trouble with only one point from their opening six matches. This time, the club believe they have the right manager in Marco Silva and have already scouted far and wide with the target of swooping quickly for six new signings.
Marco Silva will be expecting his side to finish the job at Preston on Tuesday
The only missing piece of the jigsaw is confirming their Premier League status. It could have been achieved on Good Friday but they blew a half-time lead against Derby and lost 2-1 — their third defeat in five games.
It won’t matter should Nottingham Forest lose to West Brom on Monday or Fulham secure three points at Craven Cottage the following evening.
But another stumble would cause concern, with Fulham’s final four fixtures all toughies against Bournemouth, Forest, Luton and Sheffield United. Defender Joe Bryan is trying to blot out the significance of facing Preston this week.
The Fulham coach has seen his side lose their last two games as they look to secure promotion back to the top flight
The former Everton manager said his side needed to focus on getting the job done
‘I don’t want to talk about parties. We have had it drilled into us by the manager that we take every single game at a time,’ he said.
‘We can’t feel sorry for ourselves and dwell on the Derby game. Finishing it off at home would be the ideal scenario now.’
Silva added: ‘We have to focus from first until last. Forget what will happen if we win — we have to keep all these emotions until the end of the game. You can’t use pressure as an excuse.’