Third-placed Fulham will be taking on relegation-threatened Birmingham City in their final encounter this season. The Cottagers will be hoping for a slip up from Cardiff City as that will allow them to automatically qualify for the Premier League as they are just a point behind their rivals. However, Cardiff will be expected to see through Reading but football is a funny game and Fulham will just be hoping for a miracle.
On the other hand of the spectrum, the Blues are in the thick of things at the bottom of the table. They are two points above the relegation zone and a point would be enough for their survival. So Fulham can expect a tough fight from them as they are fighting for survival. Slaviša Jokanović’s side will be hoping for the rub of the green going their way as even a draw from their rivals in Cardiff can give them a chance of direct qualifications.
Matt Target is expected to be fit for the Cottagers for this crucial encounter. He limped off in the last game but has seemed to recover in time to play against Birmingham city. Floyd Ayite and Sheyi Ojo will be unavailable due to injuries. Apart from that, there are no major injury concerns for Jokanović.
Here is how the Cottagers might lineup at the St. Andrew’s.
Marcus Bettinelli has been instrumental between the sticks for Fulham and will be expected to start. He will be protected by the centre-back pairing of Denis Odoi and Tim Ream. The Cottagers failed to keep a clean sheet against the bottom-placed Sunderland last week but overall they have been defensively solid this term. Ryan Fredericks will operate from the right and Matt Target will play in his left back role to complete the back four.
Kevin McDonald and Stefan Johansen will be expected to start in the middle of the park and their job will be to keep things moving as it is expected that Fulham will enjoy much more of the possession against Birmingham. The attacking outlet from midfield will be provided by Ryan Sessegnon, Tom Cairney and Lucas Piazon. All three have played a crucial role in Fulham’s push for the Premier League Qualification. Sessegnon has had a breakthrough season as he was nominated for PFA young player of the year, an award which is usually dominated by first division players.
Aleksandr Mitrovic will lead the attack for the Cottagers and he has been impressive for them in his loan spell.