Fulham v Cardiff City: Championship betting preview, free tip & TV
Craven Cottage trip unlikely to settle Bluebirds' nerves
Free football tips, best bets and analysis for Fulham v Cardiff in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday.
Where to watch
Sky Sports Football, 8.15pm Friday
Fulham to win to nil
1pt 9-4 Sky Bet, BetVictor
Aleksandar Mitrovic returns following a three-game suspension but captain Tom Cairney and Aboubakar Kamara miss out through injury.
Greg Cunningham and Isaac Vassell remain long-term absentees and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing returns after attending the birth of his child last week.
Fulham needed a minor miracle to sneak an automatic promotion place so West Brom's confident 2-0 victory over Derby on Wednesday night will have come as a body blow. A playoff place now looks overwhelmingly the likeliest scenario for the Cottagers, who sit five points behind second-placed Leeds - who would move further away if they win Thursday night's game in hand - and ten points above Swansea in seventh.
Three more points are still required to absolutely guarantee a top-six finish but manager Scott Parker could be tempted to use the remaining four games to get his players tuned-up for the playoffs.
However, that could work both ways for the Cottagers, who welcome back talismanic striker Aleksandar Mitrovic from a three-match suspension. The Serb has already struck a league-leading 23 Championship goals this season but may feel he has a point to prove after his team went on a three-match winning streak during his absence.
Cardiff arrive in erratic form. The Bluebirds flew out of the traps upon the resumption of football, beating Leeds 2-0 and winning 3-1 away at fellow playoff-chasing side Preston. However, the win at Deepdale came against a desperately out-of-form North End side and Cardiff have followed up with a disappointing 0-0 home draw with Charlton, a last-gasp 1-0 win at ailing Bristol City and a 2-3 home defeat against mid-table Blackburn - albeit losing to a 45-yard wonder strike from Adam Armstrong last time out.
But there is a sense among Cardiff supporters that their team is tightening up and that the pressure of having to cling onto a top-six place is getting to manager Neil Harris and his squad.
And that has to be a concern for their visit to Craven Cottage, with the hosts now able to field a fired-up Mitrovic and doubtless some fresh legs as Parker looks to keep his squad fit and healthy for the playoffs.
In a tough game to call it could be that bit of extra spark about the home team that will prove the difference against visitors who are likely to be more focused on avoiding defeat than going for broke.
Fulham's six home games against teams directly below them in the table have returned five wins (all to nil) and one defeat.
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