We had five questions for Cottagers Confidential. Their answers are below:
1. Did Fulham keep most of their Premier League players in an attempt to immediately bounce back up, or ring in the changes?
Fulham lost a lot of players. And early on, Felix Magath refused to play many of the players that we kept because he is a crazy person. That being said, there aren't a lot of changes to the club. Fulham has a very strong academy and many of the players you'll see tomorrow were simply U-18 and U-21 players last year. Of the 11 starters, I'd expect 7+ to have been with the club last year.
2. Can you describe for our readers the current managerial situation at Craven Cottage.
A mess that hopefully has been righted? Felix Magath is a crazy person. But his appointment last season made some sense. He had a history of keeping teams from being relegated. He also could bring in discipline after two managers who frankly had little to none. The problem was that after Fulham were relegated Shahid Khan faced an impossible dilemma. He could either fire Magath and be seen as the owner who had four managers in six months. Or he could give Magath a chance and try to have some stability. He went with the latter, and Magath continued to be crazy, bringing less stability than simply firing him.
Hopefully things will be righted under Kit Symons. I wasn't sure I wanted him to get the job full time, mainly because he'd done such a great job with the youth. I wasn't sure that he wanted the job and that he may have preferred to stay coaching young players. He has though come out and said how much he wants the job. He's done well in his start. And he knows both the club and all of the players from his long time in Southwest London. There are very few supporters who would be upset if he had the job full time.
3. Who are the danger men that we have to be aware of for Wednesday's match?
Ross McCormack you should probably already know about since he lead the Championship in scoring last year. He's proved to be just as dangerous with Fulham. Hugo Rodallega isn't technically gifted, but he's athletic, and will run your defense ragged. Bryan Ruiz might be the most technically gifted player in the division (hopefully you saw him in action in the World Cup and/or Copa Centroamerica). And then off the bench there is young Patrick Roberts. He's only 17, but already one of the best young English prospects in football.
4. What were your expectations for Fulham entering the season, and how have they changed over the past two months?
I figured that with adequate investment, a strong influx of youth, and competent coaching, Fulham could push for a top two finish and at worst finish in the playoff positions. This start has kind of crushed that hope. However, that kind of season would have required about 1.8 points per game to accomplish. If Fulham can hit that mark over their last 37 games, they have a shot of fighting for a playoff spot. If Kit Symons is a good coach, I think the club can finish near or in the last playoff spot.
5. Finally, can we get a prediction for Wednesday night.
I think Fulham will score. They have too much attacking talent not to. With Marcus Bettinelli in goal, their defense has been stouter. If they don't give up any stupid penalties or red cards, I expect them to play fairly well. I'd say 2-1 Fulham.