PL2 Preview: Middlesbrough

Thursday 10 August 2017 16:01

Fulham play their first competitive match of the season on Friday in the PL2 Division 2, kicking off their campaign at Motspur Park against Middlesbrough at 2pm.

Last season the Whites made it as far as the Semi-Final Play-Off, only to be knocked out at St. James’ Park by Peter Beardsley’s Newcastle United.

Peter Grant will be looking to take his young Fulham side one step further this year, eyeing promotion from the Division.

“Automatic promotion is absolutely the target,” Grant stated. “Every time we play, that’s what we want to do. We want to win every game, we want to win the League, we want to win the Cup.

“It’s no use taking part if you don’t want to win. It’s part of their learning experience, yes we want to develop the players but the best way to do that is by winning.”

“We know it’s going to be a very difficult game, we played Middlesbrough more than anyone last year. We played them four times last year and every game was a tough game.

“They’re physical, competitive, and very well organised. Every game we played in was a tough match so we know that’s the sort of game it is going to be tomorrow,”

Last season the Whites won all of their encounters with Boro. Asked whether that gives him confidence going into the match, Grant responded, “Some of our players have gone, senior players that have done very well for us, but it was time for them to move on to try and enhance their careers. 

“Middlesbrough will no doubt have been the same as they have a couple of guys out on loan and they have let some guys go, so it is a completely new group to be fair.

“Northern teams I always feel the one thing you get as a minimum is work ethic and a desire to do well, and work really hard as they are learning their trade. So we always know we are in a game against them, that’s for sure. 

“Last year counts for nothing; last week counts for nothing. It’s how you perform on the day and you need that little bit of luck.

Reflecting on last years Semi-Final, Grant said the key to this season would be consistency. “We had a couple of guys go out on loan and a couple of injury problems at the end of the season, and our form dipped because we lost too many players at the wrong time.

“it just shows you how quickly things can change. We drew one in 10 to suddenly going on a run where you are hardly winning a game, and it was an unfortunate time with players getting injured and not being available for selection. 

“Pre-season is finished and this is what players look forward to. There is nothing better than when there are points at the end of it, and I think we are all looking forward to getting the season started and our ultimate goal is to win the League.”

You can catch the action live tomorrow, by coming to Motspur Park free of charge. Alternatively, this match will be streamed live on fulhamfctv for subscribers. Due to the kick off time, entrance to Motspur will only be permitted 15 minutes before kick off. 

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