The Tanner report: Preston 1 Fulham 2
It does not seem to matter who the manager is or the regime but over the 50-odd years I have followed Fulham we invariably finish the season well. In most seasons we need to. Last night’s victory at Preston gave us 44 points and a cushion of 7 points as all the other results went our way. Two more wins should do it and we still play the bottom club Bolton who seem forlorn in their survival chances.
The team chosen was once again devoid of width and this time Stearman who had a poor game v MK Dons was dropped. I’m pleased Rohan Ince was chosen and its not a coincidence that our first two consecutive wins were achieved with him in the side. He is powerful unit to pass, breaks up play and adds an important aerial presence to a team that conceded far too many headed goals from set plays. One aspect of the season that has never changed is the MacCormack/Dembele scoring combo. Once again the double act performed with both goals. Once again a Dembele winner after the opposition drew level.
Next Saturday we entertain Carfiff at the Cottage and they entertain hopes of a play-off place so this will he no pushover. The following week we go to Brighton without Ince and this will be a tough assignment. A win against Cardiff will mean 47 points and a better goal average than our peers so we would be homed and hosed.
Of course we should not be in the basement of the Championship but we are where we are and the most important thing now is to build for next season with a good final run of results. Coach Slavia Jokatoic can work out his best system and the players to implement it for the future. Scott Parker and Moussa Dembele will not be there. Hopefully Ince will be. Having Bettinelli back in goal makes a difference and I would like to see youth given its chance with Christensen and Woodrow. As with this season the team will be reliant on MacCormack’s goals but his former Leeds strike partner Matt Smith has always found the net regularly for us.