Fulham can put themselves level on points with Leeds in second with a win over Derby County at Pride Park tonight.
Scott Parker’s men are breathing down the necks of Leeds, and three points tonight will see them go joint-second with Marcelo Bielsa’s side, though the Cottagers would have played a game more.
Derby County have been boosted by the arrival of England’s record goal scorer Wayne Rooney, who is gearing up for his 500th appearance in English football tonight. Rooney has notched two goals and two assists since his arrival, but his influence on the players around him has been invaluable.
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He has only made eight appearances for the Rams, but Rooney already has the armband for Phillip Cocu’s side. Fulham fans will be all too familiar with the threat the former Manchester United man possesses; he’s netted 12 goals and four assists against them in his career.
Derby currently sit 13th with little more than an outside shot of securing a play-off place; this is largely in part due to their dire away form this season. To give context as to how contrasting the form at Pride Park and the form on their travels has been, Derby are second in the home form table, losing just two. Phillip Cocu’s side are 22nd in the away form table, losing nine.
The London side on the other hand have been more consistent. Their home record has been admirable. The majority of Parker’s wins have been at Craven Cottage which has become a fortress. However, the Cottagers most recent outing was a shock, humiliating 3-0 home defeat to rock-bottom Barnsley.
Derby gaffer Cocu has already quashed any fears that the result may lead to complacency from his men. He told the press: “It confirms the league we play in can be so unpredictable and also confirms that there are no easy games.”
Rams fans can rejoice as defender Andre Wisdom is fit and available for selection again after he limped off in the closing stages of Derby’s last league outing. Derby were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield in that fixture.
Duane Holmes however has not recovered from the leg injury he suffered last weekend and is unavailable for selection.
Shot-stopper Ben Hamer is available for selection after missing last weekend's match due to Huddersfield being his parent club thus making him ineligible for selection.
Other long-term absentee’s include Tom Huddlestone, who is still nursing a calf problem, and Krystian Bielik who is out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury.
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Loan singing Terrence Kongolo is out for the entire season after picking up a foot injury ten minutes into his Fulham career.
Fellow loanee Harrison Reed is out of action as he continues to nurse a calf injury.
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