Fulham Under-23s are back in PL2 action at Craven Cottage on Saturday for the visit of Stoke. The game marks the half way point in our season as the return fixtures commence and gets underway at 1pm.
The Young Whites go into the game on the back of a narrow 2-1 defeat to high-flying Reading in the PL Cup, after the post denied them twice.
Stoke and Fulham go into the game with an identical record in the league, winning three, drawing three and losing five. However, The Potters sit one place above on goal difference in eighth.
Tickets for this match are available to pay on the gate at £3.00 for Adults, £1.00 for concession, and free for all season ticket holders.
The game was deadlocked at the Bet365 Stadium until the 70th minute, where Gabriel Kyeremateng struck to give the hosts the lead. Skipper Aron Davies responded two minutes from time in what was a prolific scoring period for the central defender.
“I think the most rewarding thing is that we performed to how I know we can perform. We had a deflected free kick go against us which killed us a little bit, but we came back well and should have got something out of it.
“We are playing at the Stadium which is always nice for the boys in their experience. Stoke gave us a good game when we played them a couple of weeks ago, so we are looking forward to it.
“We played them earlier at the Bet365 Stadium and they caused us a few problems with their direct play but we managed that and were fine in dealing with their quick direct route.”
Since we last spoke, how has Stoke U23s’ season unfolded?
“Performance levels are still high, although we've only won one league game since the 1-1 draw with Fulham. That was an emphatic 7-2 win over Norwich though, and the youngsters also navigated their way through the Checkatrade Trophy group stages for a first time- although they were knocked out by an experienced Port Vale earlier this week.”
Which player has come out of the blue and become a real performer?
“Mark Waddington has been superb following a year out with a broken leg. His energy levels in the centre of midfield create the tempo for the team and the former Blackpool youngster has also chipped in with a couple of important goals.”
What is the expectation at the mid-point in the PL2 season?
“The team have dropped silly points in recent weeks and if they were a little more solid at the back then they could easily find themselves in a play-off spot at this point. If Kevin Russell is able to tighten things at the back then there is no reason why the play-offs can't be a realistic target. Player progression is the priority though, so one or two of the lads forcing their way into the first team would be the ultimate target.”
Have any players caught the eye of Gary Rowett?
“Rowett is a regular observer at U23 matches and he's bound to be impressed with Tyrese Campbell's clinical finishing, as well as Ollie Shenton's influence on games. Harry Souttar has been in and around the first team this season whilst fellow centre half Nathan Collins seems to have a bright future in the game, although both players have spent time in the treatment room recently.”