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Keep it tight at the back and Fulham can make a promotion push

| 16.08.2016

We’re two games into the new Championship campaign and we’ve already seen a handful of shocks. But while Newcastle United’s poor start has been the main talking point of the second tier, Slavisa Jokanovic’s Fulham side are quietly going about their business.

We’re not getting carried away with ourselves, and there is still a long way to go – but odds on Fulham to be promoted have already fallen to 7/1 from 11s – and the Cottagers couldn’t have wished for a better start to the new campaign.

Jokanovic has overseen nine arrivals to the West London outfit this summer, and has already introduced eight of those players to his first team, and what we’re essentially seeing now is a completely different side to the one which finished in 20th place in last year’s table.

While Fulham were one of the highest-scoring teams in the league last year (scoring 66 goals), their defensive record was better than just two other sides – both of which were relegated, conceding a staggering 79 goals in 46 games.

But the only member of that back-five to retain his starting place this season is Michael Madl, who Jokanovic brought in himself on loan in January, meaning that in David Button, Scott Malone, Tomas Kalas, Michael Madl and Denis Odoi, the Serbian manager has removed any trace of his predecessor’s porous backline.

Matt Smith has finally found his feet in the Championship too, the striker having already matched his goal tally from last season.

And while the loss of both Moussa Dembele and Ross McCormack will have undoubtedly hit Jokanovic hard, the arrival of attack-minded trio Sone Aluko, Floyd Ayite and former Rayo Vallecano man Jozabed will surely soften the blow.

An opening day win against title-favourites Newcastle was followed last weekend by a 2-1 victory away at Preston, and the Cottagers will be looking to make it three wins in a row tonight away to a Leeds side who are still looking for their first win of the season.

Matt Smith and co. are 13/8 to make it three wins on the bounce this season, while the target man is 5/1 to grab the first goal.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Alex Apati

Alex has been with the Ladbrokes PR team since 2017 having previously worked for the news department. From sparring with Peter Fury to talking interviews on the Duke and Duchess' baby names, he's covered a range of sports and novelty events.

A frustrated West Brom fan who is no stranger to an oche, Alex is originally from Dudley, although he's worked hard to rid himself of the Black Country twang.