It is thirty three years since we won at Craven Cottage.
April 22nd 1986 was the date when a meagre crowd of 5,590 witnessed the two goals from Mark Stuart and one from John Pearson that consigned a dismal Fulham team to relegation to Division Three. A week later we beat them again - 2-0 at The Valley - and then went up to Carlisle to seal our promotion to the top tier for the first time in thirty years.
Since then our record at Craven Cottage (and Loftus Road) is: Played 12, won 0, drawn 3, lost 9. Scored 4, conceded 23. We have lost the last five games with an aggregate of 2-14.
Fulham are joint (with Preston) top goal scorers in The Championship with 18 goals (Charlton 14), and they have the best goal difference (+10). According to EFL Championship Stats they have had 149 shots so far this season which compares very favourably with the 86 shots Charlton have mustered (which is the lowest in the division). However, this of course means that we have a vastly superior conversion rate...
Danger men for Fulham will be Aleksandar Mitrovic, Anthony Knockaert and Tom Cairney.
Mitrovic has scored seven already this term which means he has 19 goals for Fulham in 27 Championship appearances, plus 11 in 37 last year in The Premier League. The Serbian, who has 51 international caps (28 goals) signed a five year contract with Fulham in July having joined for a fee which could rise to £27m. Knockaert, who has joined on loan from Brighton, is one of those players not quite good enough for The Premier League (5 goals in 77) but more than useful at Championship level (35 in 157). Cairney has been at Craven Cottage for four years and, although he only netted once in 31 Premier League outings, he has scored 30 in 128 for Fulham in the second tier.
We believe this is the first match ever to be played in which both managers are products of the Charlton youth system. In addition, both team will be fielding a Charlton academy graduate as Parker's brother-in-law Harry Arter is now at Craven Cottage on loan from Bournemouth for the season.
This is going to be a really tough game for Charlton who may well kick off without a specialist left back and with Jonathan Leko and Macauley Bonne as their only fit forwards. Furthermore, while Fulham coasted against ten man Reading on Tuesday evening, Charlton put in an exhausting shift against Swansea on Wednesday. Those twenty four fewer hours of recovery time could be very telling indeed.