Fulham are keeping pace in the race for promotion.
Scott Parker’s side have occupied the 3rd-place spot in the Championship table for much of the season, proving to be the ‘best of the rest’ as Leeds United and West Brom continue to lead the pack.
Fulham did manage to close what was an 11-point gap to Leeds but last weekend suffered a 3-0 home defeat to bottom-club Barnsley, allowing Leeds to re-open the gap after beating Bristol City.
A lot was said about Parker and the players after the game. Not everyone has lived up to expectations this season, and here we take a look at two Fulham players who need to raise their game in the final months of the season:
Christie on his day can be one of the Championship’s best right-wing backs. He boasts tremendous physical attributes and his attacking ability is highly-regarded, but this season he’s struggled to make a mark on the first-team, and has received criticism from fans throughout.
The 27-year-old has featured 16 times in the Championship this season, playing in less than half of Fulham’s games, and has since sat out the last three on the bench in favour of Denis Odoi, and last week Steven Sessegnon.
It’s like he’s carried the hangover of last season into this one – he had a terrible time in the Premier League, as did most of the Fulham players, but Christie seems to have lost his confidence more than most.
His time at the club could well come to an end in the summer if he fails to break back into the first-team. He’s had his chances to impress but has consistency been dropped in-turn, and fans would likely want to see a much younger Sessegnon playing and progressing instead.
Of all the impressive business that Fulham did in the summer, the loan-acquisition of Knockaert looked like the crowning of those signings. The Frenchman has proven himself at both Championship and Premier League level, and has won promotion from the second-tier with Leicester City and Brighton.
But in 30 appearances in all competitions this season he’s managed just four goals and four assists. He netted 15 in Brighton’s promotion winning 2016/17 campaign and Parker wanted to bring a bit of that to Craven Cottage, but the 28-year-old just seems to have lost his confidence and his touch a little.
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Knockaert has impressed at times, but nowhere near consistently enough to warrant regular starting spot, and it’s likely that Fulham won’t want to make his stay permanent in the summer.
Both Bobby Reid and Ivan Cavaleiro have made their stays permanent, and Parker would’ve been looking at doing the same for Knockaert at the start of the season – a few good games and goals in the run-in to May though might see him stay after all.