Former Fulham midfielder Sean Davis has told the club’s official website that he expects his old side to finish in the top six as a ‘minimum requirement’ in the forthcoming Championship season, with a top two finish ‘the target’.
Last season, the west London outfit went on a scintillating run of form after Valentine’s Day – when no team in the second tier picked up more points – which saw them sneak into the final play-off spot, exceeding the pre-season expectations of many observers.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s side were eliminated in the play-off semi finals by Jaap Stam’s Reading, losing out 2-1 on aggregate and Davis expects his former club to carry on their improvement, dealing with the increased weight of expectation from both their own fans and neutral observers, backing the players to produce another ‘great’ season.
That means that another play-off birth is the minimum requirement, otherwise it will be seen as a season of regression for Fulham, but Davis feels that a spot in the automatic promotion spots is certainly not out of reach, even despite the heavy spending going on across the league, with divisional rivals such as Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Wolves all spending big to bolster their respective promotion bids.
By contrast, Fulham have largely focused on keeping the same core as last season, tying down captain Tom Cairney and hot prospect Ryan Sessegnon to long-term deals and sealing the return of Chelsea pair Tomas Kalas and Lucas Piazon, both on season-long loan deals.
Davis is right to call on his former side to improve on their finish from last season – a season of regression, even if it is more in line with reasonable expectations would significantly dampen the mood around the club.
He is also right to claim that Fulham can get up automatically, but it depends on two factors. The first is; can they produce their late-season form of last campaign through the whole of this season? If they can, they’ll be right among the promotion chasers.
Secondly, how will new signing Aboubakar Kamara settle in? Fulham made the top six last season without a reliable number nine – loanee Chris Martin angered Whites fans by requesting a return to Derby County midway through the season – so if Kamara can be a reliable source of goals, finishing the hatfuls of chances Jokanovic’s attractive style of football demands, there is no reason why Fulham cannot be in the top two.
Fulham fans – what are your expectations for the coming season? Let us know below…