Top meets bottom in the Championship on Wednesday evening as leaders Fulham play host to Derby County.
While the Cottagers sit nine points clear in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League, the Rams are 15 points of safety at the other end of the standings.
With 28 matches remaining, Marco Silva will not get carried away with the form of his Fulham side, but the Portuguese cannot be anything but satisfied with their efforts this season.
A shaky spell during September has been followed by pure dominance, the Cottagers extending their winning streak to seven matches at the weekend with a 4-1 victory over Barnsley.
Fulham now have 48 goals from just 18 games, 21 of which have come from Aleksandar Mitrovc, but Silva will take greater pride from four different players getting on the scoresheet at the weekend.
Harry Wilson and Neeskens Kebano now have 10 strikes and 12 assists between them, while youngster Fabio Carvalho got back in on the action during the fixture with the Tykes.
Silva’s side have now prevailed in seven of their nine games in West London this season, and they will expect to improve on that against a struggling Derby outfit.
Nevertheless, in the face of persistent adversity, Wayne Rooney is working wonders at Pride Park, his side responding to their latest points deduction by recording a dramatic 3-2 triumph over promotion-chasing Bournemouth.
The argument will be that Derby are playing with less pressure on their shoulders given that they are seemingly at the point of no return, but there will be renewed optimism after closing the gap to safety to 15 points.
Although the Rams would only occupy 16th spot without their double punishment, losing just three of their last 12 matches is some achievement given the circumstances.
Goals have not always been Derby’s strong point under Rooney, but they have now netted in six successive matches, scoring nine in total.
Fulham Championship form:
Derby County Championship form:
Having had an extra day of recovery, Silva will give consideration to selecting the same Fulham XI on Wednesday.
However, Denis Odoi and Tosin Adarabioyo are both available again after suspension, and are options at right-back and centre-back respectively.
Tom Cairney added something different to the team on Saturday and could keep his place ahead of Jean Michael Seri.
Derby will be forced into at least one change with Sam Baldock having sustained a hamstring injury against Bournemouth.
Lee Buchanan also picked up a knock in that game, leaving Colin Kazim-Richards and Craig Forsyth in line to come into the team.
Nathan Byrne returns from suspension and should take the place of Festy Ebosele at right-back.
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Rodak; Tete, Hector, Ream, Robinson; Reed, Cairney; Wilson, Carvalho, Kebano; Mitrovic
Derby County possible starting lineup:
Roos; Byrne, Jagielka, Davies, Forsyth; Knight, Thompson, Bird, Shinnie, Lawrence; Kazim-Richards
We say: Fulham 3-0 Derby County
Having stunned Bournemouth at the weekend, Derby have alleviated a certain degree of pressure ahead of this contest. However, despite being able to play with a greater sense of freedom, it would come as a surprise if Fulham do not cruise to victory in West London.
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Source: | This article originally belongs to Sportsmole.co.uk