Second from top and second from bottom meet this weekend in the Sky Bet Championship, as Fulham host Barnsley. But, in spite of their League standings, will their fortunes be reversed in our featured kick-off?
The clash, branded ‘The Tyke Down’ by the high-flying Cottagers, could go either way…
📅 Match details
Kick-off between the two teams at Craven Cottage is pencilled for 15:00 as the Reds make the 180-mile trip to West London.
Joshua Smith has been named as the man in the middle, with Jonathan Hunt and Sam Lewis joining him as assistant referees. Meanwhile, David Rock will serve as the fourth official.
👔 At the helm
Following spells with Hull City, Watford and Everton in the Premier League, Marco Silva was appointed as the new Fulham head coach in the summer and has enjoyed a flying start to life in West London.
The former defender made his first move into coaching in 2011, managing in his native Portugal before making the move to England to take up a position with the Tigers and then the Toffees.
Meanwhile, former Sweden Under-21 coach Poya Asbaghi will take charge of his first Tykes game this weekend when Barnsley travel to Fulham.
The 36-year-old was named as the Club’s new head coach earlier this week, replacing Markus Schopp who departed Oakwell at the beginning of the month.
🔑 Key man
Who else? Around a third of the way through the 2021/22 Championship season and Aleksandar Mitrović has already hit double figures, chalking up 20 goals in 17 League appearances. Not to mention he already has two match balls in his possession, following trebles against Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion…
The Serbian, who netted for his country in a 2-1 win against Portugal during the international break, also leads the way in the Championship scoring charts; seven goals clear of Blackburn Rovers’ Ben Brereton Diaz and Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke who each tally 13 strikes.
Barnsley and Poland defender Michał Helik has been a mainstay in the Reds’ back-line this season, chalking up 17 League appearances to date, building on an impressive start to life at Oakwell, after signing for the Club in the summer of 2020.
The South Yorkshire side’s 2020/21 Player of the Season played his part in helping the Reds reach the Play-Off Semi-Final, before jetting off on international duty.
📈 Form guide
Fulham embarked on an impressive streak mid-way through October that has seen the Cottagers record six straight wins, scoring 21 goals and conceding just the one to Queens Park Rangers. However, a 7-0 display over Blackburn Rovers at the beginning of November was undoubtedly the highlight.
Now hot on the heels of table toppers Bournemouth, Fulham will be looking to put pressure on the Cherries, whom they trail by two points.
One win in 15 has left Barnsley, on the other hand, in 23rd place and four points short of 21st-placed Peterborough United, sitting just outside of the bottom three.
The Tykes started their campaign on the front foot, taking a point from Cardiff City and securing their first win a week later against Coventry City. However, the South Yorkshire side have found wins hard to come by since and will be hoping to right those wrongs this weekend.
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