This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Fulham’s chances of achieving automatic promotion back into the Premier League have been dealt a significant blow with Aleksandar Mitrović being suspended for their next three matches.
The Serbian international was caught elbowing Leeds United defender Ben White in their 3-0 defeat to Marcelo Bielsa’s side on Saturday.
Mitrovic has been in impressive form this season for the Cottagers, having scored 23 goals in 36 appearances as they look to make a swift return to the top-flight.
Fulham have struggled since the resumption of this year’s campaign though, as they have lost both of their games since getting their season back under way, which will be concerning for the club’s supporters.
Mitrovic will miss their matches against QPR, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest, which could prove to be a season-defining blow for the London-based side.
But who should come into the side to fill the sizeable void in attack for Scott Parker’s side over the next three matches?
I’d be giving Bobby Reid a chance to shine up top.
I don’t personally believe that Reid is an attacking midfielder, and I think he’s much better when he’s leading the line and playing on the shoulder of the last man, and I think he’d score much more goals in that position.
It’s obviously a massive blow to lose Mitrovic ahead of the next three matches, especially on the back of two defeats, as he has shown that he can take a chance and score out of nowhere, so to be without that goal threat for the next three games is undoubtedly a blow.
Whoever plays up top needs to perform Mitrovic’s role really well, so whether Reid can cope with the physicality and demands of playing as a lone striker in the Championship remains to be seen.
This is a crucial time for Fulham nonetheless, and Scott Parker simply has to get it right.
Aboubakar Kamara seems a likely option.
He’s been called upon before when Mitrovic has been missing and has actually done a decent job at times this season, so let’s see if he can do so again.
Certainly, Fulham need him to step up but I do sometimes think that without Mitrovic they are forced to be a bit more creative as a team and that can sometimes work.
They are so reliant on the Serb at times that, without him, they see others step up and produce the goods so maybe a turn in form will come about.
Do these celebrities support Fulham or not? Test your knowledge in our quiz!
I’d like to see Stefan Johansen given a chance in a sort of false 9 position. That change in approach could get a talented player into the side and also bring a different dynamic to the way Fulham attack.
At the moment, it is easy to read. It isn’t easy to deal with as Mitrovic is such a threat, but you know who Fulham are turning to for their source of goals.
So, in the absence of the Serbian, maybe give Johansen a go in that sort of creative No.9 position. Flaking him with two wingers to play on the shoulder will allow him to drop deep, whilst his relationship with Tom Cairney will also blossom.
He’s not the natural fit by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe he’s the man to come in and get the best out of Cairney and co, who are drifting towards disappointment in the promotion race.