So what can Reading expect from Fulham tomorrow? We spoke to Andrew from fellow SB Nation blog and Fulham hotspot Cottagers Confidential.
How would you sum up Fulham's season so far?
The season has been disappointing. There was the hope at the beginning of the year that this squad could at least contend for a playoff spot. Unfortunately that wasn't to be. And to make matters worse, the coaching search took so long that the team actually feel back way to close to the relegation spots for comfort.
What's the early verdict on Slavisa Jokanovic? Wish you'd ended up with Steve Clarke?
I catch a lot of flak for this opinion, but I don't believe managers make that much difference. The truly great managers can get a little more performance out of a squad. The truly bad managers can cause a squad to underperform their true talent. But as long as the players haven't tuned out the manager and are still playing for him, the results are really based on the players and not the managers.
Slavisa seems to be saying the right things. Fulham have had a long list of managers who would say that we deserved a point, or we just go unlucky. When the team loses, he isn't afraid to say things like, "We surrendered against them (boro). This situation is not acceptable." That's a breath of fresh air for most Fulham fans. He also isn't afraid to change things up. If his game plan isn't working, he'll change it quickly. He'll substitute at the half or earlier if he feels it's necessary. So far, I like what I see. I don't think I'm ready to say he's a great manager. But I'm confident he isn't a bad one. As long as the players are playing for him, I think they'll do as well as their talent allows. The talent on Fulham is the real problem.
To be honest, I've never been a fan of Steve Clarke. I'm not sure what he's accomplished that makes him desirable. He probably would have been fine, as I don't think he's actively bad. But Jokanovic is much more fun (based on his personality) to the supporters.
The game between us at Craven Cottage proved a massive turning point in our season. What did you make of Reading that day and from what you've seen and read since?
It appeared that it might be a turning point for Fulham. The squad had a habit of just capitulating when they fell behind. To score four goals and come back from being down 2-0 was quite surprising. That result and the result against Bristol City a week later made it seem as if Kit Symons had things figured out. We wouldn't be Fulham if that were the case however.
As for Reading, I'm not sure what to make of them. Once Sa scored your second goal, I figured you would pack it in, and Fulham would struggle to break you down. I'm still not sure exactly what happened. I definitely never expected Fulham to score three goals in six minutes.
That game was so flukey, I'm not sure we can take anything from it. Fulham have scored a lot of goals this season (second in goals scored), and have scored 3+ goals eight times. So, a 4-2 game wasn't out of the question. The defence has been just as atrocious as the offense has been good, giving up 1.6 goals a game. Slavisa has made a few changes and the defence has improved a bit. Over his 10 games, the goals against have only been 1.4/game versus 1.75 before him. The shot data shows that Fulham are giving up less shots and less dangerous shots as well. The offense has fallen a bit (from 1.5 to 1.4 goals a game), and the shot data supports this change as well. I expect a much less wild affair this time. Fulham will probably keep the ball a lot, with many short passes. I expect them to score. But some of our biggest weaknesses are also your biggest strengths (defending set pieces).
Who should Reading fans watch out for on Saturday?
Ross McCormack. Honestly, if you said he was the best player in the Championship, I'd have a hard time arguing against you. He's scored 111 goals in the Championship. He has a chance to be the top scorer in the division this year. But he's not just a scorer. He's also fourth in the Championship in assists. He's either scored or assisted on 23 of Fulham's 51 goals this year.
Any Royals player you're not looking forward to facing?
Matej Vydra is always a player I've liked, and I'm quite surprised he's still playing in the the division, so I'm glad he's reportedly set to miss the game. I also don't like facing Danny Williams, but only because I'm always afraid someone is going to be horribly injured by one of his tackles.
And what's your score prediction?
Fulham have been kind of a yo-yo team. Their last performance was pretty bad, so I'm expecting this one to be much better. I'm thinking Fulham win this one 2-1.
Thanks again to Andrew and you can follow the chaps from Cottagers Confidential on Twitter @CottagersC