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Match Preview: Fulham V Forest

We got our bad selves down with Andrew Beck to find out how Fulham have recovered from a shocking start.

Ker Robertson/Getty Images

That night way back in September when we ran out 5-3 winners seems (and is) an awful long time ago. Since then, in an incredibly neat piece of symmetry of which Pythagorus would be proud, our respective fortunes have reversed somewhat. Was it really as simple as ditching the cheese obsessed Felix Magath?

Part of it was getting rid of the crazy person as a manager: part of it was just putting out the best team possible. Two players that Kit Symons brought back into the fold were Bryan Ruiz and Lasse Vigen Christensen. Until this weekend every Fulham league win had included both players, and the recent dip in form coincided with slight knocks to each. This week was the first win without LVC, and it didn't look like a win at all until Bryan Ruiz came on as a sub with a late goal. Perhaps Magath would have been able to win if he just picked the best side possible, but due to ego and other issues, he refused to do so.

Maybe he was still smarting over losing out in the 1980 European Cup Final to some team or other whilst playing for Hamburg. Ross McCormack gave us some awful difficulty on that particular evening; is he doing the business that you'd expect of such a big signing or is it just against us that he looks frighteningly good? And will Scott Parker do some keepy-uppies like he did all those years ago?

Ross has played very well for Fulham. He probably will end up with 10+ goals this year, but even more impressive he may end up with 15+ assists. He's actually played as almost a number 10 for Fulham this year. Kit Symons has lined the squad up in what is nominally a 4-4-2 diamond. However the tip of the diamond (Bryan Ruiz usually) and Ross McCormack are given the freedom to move about the pitch at will. At times both players will push high and wide and it looks like more of a 4-3-3.

Your heroics in the snow at Molineux in the cup meant that this particular game is now an evening affair rather than a much-anticipated Saturday afternoon meeting. How are you at the Cottage in midweek and what happened to that non-segregated stand? Is that still a thing?

Fulham usually play pretty well under the lights. Though it sometimes means the game won't be a complete sell out (one of the problems of relegation). The Putney End is where the away fans are generally sat. However, the rest of the stand is supposed to be for neutrals. When Fulham was in the premier league, it was one of the clubs that tourists most often visited (just try being an American and getting tickets for the big London clubs). While it still nominally is for neutrals, you'll see much less of that in the Championship.

Richard Osman. Hugh Grant. Any other Big Time Charlie celebrity fans we should know about?

Daniel Radcliffe used to be a Fulham fan, but turned his back on Football. Lilly Allen was a famous fan, but for some reason decided to go and support Chelsea. Pierce Bronsan is still a fan as is Georgie Thompson. Fulham tend to have a lot of foreign celebrities who attended games but don't actually call themselves fans (Benicio Del Toro, Hugh Laurie, etc).

By the way, I saw that Osman was tweeting that the play-off push was imminent: is that on or is there simply too much ground to make up?

Before the holiday season, I thought the playoffs were a distinct possibility. Now, they'd be a bit of a shock. The top 8 seems to be starting to pull away from the rest a bit. The final playoff spot is also looking to require a much higher total (77+ points) than normal. Fulham would need to play at about 2.3 points a game to hit that total; I just don't think that's feasible. I think the better approach for the rest of the season is continue to get the youngsters experience, sign them up to contract extensions, possible finalize a few players who are here on loan, and finish in the top eight. If Ruiz does go as expected in the window, it won't be shocking for Fulham to put out a lineup full of players under 23 except for McCormack and Parker. A young team with that much experience could be a force with just a few additions next season.

Not been having much joy with this prediction thing in recent weeks but here goes: after THAT game for us on Saturday, I'm thinking that a creditable draw is on the cards for us after spending so much physical and emotional energy against Derby. Your thoughts?

I think most Fulham fans will be hoping for a win. After struggling to score a bit, the team did manage 5 goals in its last two games. This begins a stretch where Fulham could go on a bit of a run with some easier fixtures and secure a place in the top ten. They still have issues at the back, but that's to be expected when your goalkeeper is 22 and you have two fullbacks who are 21 and 20. I expect your squad to be a bit tired after Derby and feel you'll come up just short. I'd wager 2-1 or 3-1.

Huge thanks to Andrew Beck who runs this spiritual cousin of a marvellous website and can be found on twitter here.