MX23RW : Saturday, June 19 10:43:48| >> :600:319059:319059:
Feb 29, 2020 at 3pm UK at Craven Cottage
Attendance: 19,020
PrestonPreston North End
Nugent (58' og.), Kamara (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Fulham vs. Preston North End - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Fulham and Preston North End, including team news and predicted lineups.

Arguably the pick of this weekend's Championship action will take place at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon as Fulham prepare to welcome Preston North End.

Fulham, who recorded a 1-0 win over Swansea City on Wednesday night, are currently third in the table, while Preston occupy the final playoff position with 11 matches left.

Match preview

Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates scoring for Fulham on February 1, 2020© Reuters

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a 94th-minute header as Fulham recorded a 1-0 victory over Swansea on Wednesday night to bounce back from a three-game winless run in the Championship.

The Cottagers are currently third in the table, five points behind second-placed Leeds United and nine points from the leaders West Bromwich Albion, who are well placed to secure a return to the top division.

Fulham are seven points clear of seventh-placed Bristol City, meanwhile, and it is difficult to imagine Scott Parker's side dropping out of promotion contention in the latter stages of the campaign.

In Mitrovic, meanwhile, the Cottagers have arguably the best striker in the second tier. The 25-year-old has scored 23 times in the Championship this term and will fancy his chances of harming Preston this weekend.

Fulham suffered a 2-1 defeat when they travelled to Deepdale earlier this season, but they have only lost one of their last eight matches with Preston in all competitions.

Preston boss Alex Neil on February 8, 2020© Reuters

Preston have never played in the Premier League, but there is no question that they are a team to be taken seriously when it comes to the race for promotion this term.

Alex Neil's side are currently sixth in the table, three points clear of seventh-placed Bristol City despite losing two of their last three league matches.

They suffered a 2-0 defeat away to the leaders West Brom on Tuesday night, although three victories from four matches between February 8 and February 22 saw them remain in a strong position in the table.

There is a fascinating race developing when it comes to the playoff positions, and a positive result for Neil's team this weekend would leave them in a strong position ahead of two winnable matches against Queens Park Rangers and Luton Town next month.

Fulham Championship form: WWDLDW

Preston Championship form: DWWLWL

Team News

Alfie Mawson in action for Fulham in September 2018© Reuters

Fulham will again be without the services of Maxime Le Marchand, Josh Onomah, Harrison Reed, Alfie Mawson and Terence Kongolo for this weekend's contest through injury.

The Cottagers did not pick up any fresh concerns against Swansea last time out, though, and it would therefore not be a surprise to see the same XI sent onto the field.

Aboubakar Kamara is perhaps the one player seriously pushing for a spot in the side, although Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert should both keep their positions in attacking areas.

As for Preston, Darnell Fisher's red card against West Brom on Tuesday night will rule him out, meaning that there could be a start at the back for Tom Clarke.

Josh Harrop, Tom Bayliss, Billy Bodin and Louis Moult are also still out, but Neil does have options for change with Scott Sinclair and Jayden Stockley both available.

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Rodak; Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Cairney, Arter; Cavaleiro, Reid, Knockaert; Mitrovic

Preston possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Clarke, Bauer, Davies, Hughes; Pearson, Browne; Barkhuizen, Johnson, Maguire; Nugent

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We say: Fulham 2-0 Preston

There is simply no downplaying the importance of this match to both teams. Fulham are, rightly, the favourites to triumph on Saturday, and we are struggling to look past the hosts in this particular contest.

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Fulham manager Scott Parker pictured on February 26, 2020
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