Whenever a team gets relegated from the Premier League, there is always a sense of dread amongst supporters that it could be the beginning of an irreversible slide down the divisions.
Having been immediately relegated from the top flight in each of their last two appearances in the Premier League, Fulham know what it’s like to deal with those feelings more than most.
However, happily for the Cottagers’ loyal fanbase, the club have not suffered too greatly as a result. Indeed, Fulham are on the brink of returning to the Premier league for a third time in five seasons, with Marco Silva’s side sitting pretty as runaway leaders at the top of the Championship table.
Yes, second-place Bournemouth have two games in hand, but you wouldn’t expect Fulham to let their position of superiority slip given how consistent they have been over the course of the season so far.
After a run of disappointing results in November and December, Fulham have picked up the pace in the last few months and have lost just once since the turn of the year.
That was a 2-1 home defeat to fellow promotion hopefuls Huddersfield Town, and while it was a sign that there is a certain fragility to the Cottagers’ ranks, you’d still expect them to have too much quality to slip up.
Part of that quality is star striker Aleksandar Mitrović, who has already broken the Championship scoring record with 34 goals so far. The fact that Fulham still have 13 matches to play in the league this season suggests that the Serbian international could well post a truly unthinkable number of goals by the time the season is out.
Quality in attack proving to be the difference
Having that quality in attack is a major reason for Fulham’s position in the league table. The sheer ruthlessness in front of goal provided by Mitrović is aided by the creativity of players like Bobby Decordova-Reid and youngster Fabio Carvalho, the latter of whom has been courted by Liverpool with the Premier League titans actively seeking his signature.
Fulham still need to play Bournemouth before the end of the season, but that fixture takes place towards the end of the campaign, by which point the west Londoners’ title could already be sewn up.
It’s certainly looking that way according to the live football betting, where Fulham are the hot favourites to regain their place in the Premier League.
Of course, assuming they do see their promotion challenge through, the next step will be to cement their position in the top flight. Fulham have already become something of a yo-yo team over the last few years, and they need to find a way to make the most of their opportunity in the Premier League next time around.
In Silva, they have a coach who has experience of coaching in the top tier. Indeed, the Portuguese may feel he has unfinished business in the top flight, having suffered relegation with Hull City before less-than-satisfying spells at Watford and Everton.
The first step, of course, is to ensure that Fulham continue on their path towards the Premier League and don’t become complacent along the way.