Two of last season's relegated teams, Huddersfield Town and Fulham, continue life back in the EFL Championship fixture with a Friday night fixture against each other.
The John Smiths Stadium, Huddersfield, England
Key Stat: Huddersfield have not won a competitive match since beating Wolves in February (three draws, ten defeats).
Expert Verdict: Huddersfield's search for a win goes on, after being dumped out of the Carabao Cup by League One Lincoln City in mid-week. Fulham, meanwhile, recorded their first win back in the Championship last weekend and Scott Parker's team have a chance to kick on with an away win now too.
Huddersfield made ten changes to their starting line-up for the game against Lincoln City and those changes are all likely to be reversed as they return to league action at the weekend. They suffered defeat to the Imps despite there having been players with Premier League experience in their much-changed line-up, with nobody staking a good claim for a regular place.
Karlan Ahearne-Grant – Scored from the spot in the draw with QPR, having emerged as one of the few positives in the Terriers’ relegation season last time out.
Alex Pritchard – Has conquered the Championship already with some excellent performances for Norwich and this a chance for the attacking midfielder to re-iterate his playmaking qualities.
Terence Kongolo – Kept the Terriers in the Premier League in 2018 and will be a key figure in the defence as he looks to get them back to the top flight this season.
Despite Karlan Ahearne-Grant scoring penalties in each of the first two league games of the season, the Terriers are still without a competitive win since February. They lost their first home game of the new season 2-1 to Derby County and then drew 1-1 at Queens Park Rangers last weekend. A much-changed team then suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup first round.
Defenders:Florent Hadergjonaj, Tommy Elphick, Curtis Schindler, Terence Kongolo
Midfielders:Elias Kachunga, Jonathan Hogg, Lewis O’Brien
Forwards:Adama Diakhaby, Karlan Ahearne-Grant, Alex Pritchard
Having made some smart signings in the summer from Premier League clubs, Fulham handed two of them – Anthony Knockaert and Harry Arter – a first start last time out. After winning at home to Blackburn, they could stick with the same line-up this time.
Aleksandar Mitrovic – Prolific in the Championship in Fulham’s promotion season, he opened his account in the win against Blackburn.
Ivan Cavaleiro – The Wolves loanee was a key figure when they were promoted as champions in 2018, and is a smart signing for the Cottagers this season.
Anthony Knockaert – Handed a first start last time out, the winger is another who has thrived in the Championship before.
Fulham lost the first game of the new season away to Barnsley but bounced back at home to Blackburn last weekend. Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrovic scored their goals in a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Defenders:Denis Odoi, Alfie Mawson, Tim Ream, Joe Bryan
Midfielders:Stefan Johansen, Harry Arter, Tom Cairney
Forwards:Anthony Knockaert, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ivan Cavaleiro
After each winning their home game 1-0 against each other in the Premier League last season, Huddersfield and Fulham go into this match with an identical head-to-head record of 26 wins apiece and 16 draws. Huddersfield’s win last season – courtesy of an own goal – was their first in 25 years, however. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a last-minute winner in the second meeting, meanwhile. The last time they met in the Championship, in the 2016-17 season, Fulham won both games by a combined score of 9-1.
Here are the results of their last five competitive matches:
Dec 29, 2018: Fulham 1-0 Huddersfield Town
Nov 05, 2018: Huddersfield Town 1-0 Fulham
Apr 22, 2017: Huddersfield Town 1-4 Fulham
Oct 29, 2016: Fulham 5-0 Huddersfield Town
Jan 16, 2016: Huddersfield Town 1-1 Fulham
Having both been relegated from the Premier League last season, Huddersfield Town and Fulham meet in front of the Sky television cameras on Friday night.
The hosts are yet to record their first win of the new season, taking one point from two league games and losing to Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup.
Fulham, meanwhile, got off the mark last time out and the Cottagers look to have invested wisely in the summer.
Their team is packed with players who have already proved they have the quality to get out of this league – Stefan Johansen, Marcus Bettinelli, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tom Cairney did it with Fulham two seasons ago, while Anthony Knockaert, Harry Arter, Ivan Cavaleiro and Bobby Reid have promotions on their CVs too.
They have some good attacking quality in Knockaert, Mitrovic and Cavaleiro too – a good combination of pace, skill, creativity and power to trouble any Championship defence.
Huddersfield, meanwhile, look short of quality in key areas still and this could be a frustrating season back in the Championship.
So far, they are yet to score in open play and have taken just one point from their first two matches. The defeat to Lincoln was not the disaster it could have been – it was a much-changed team – but it did highlight a worrying lack of strength in depth too.
Fulham have started the better of the two teams in these very early stages of this season, however, and this is a chance for them to stake their promotion claim with a valuable away win.
Fulham are favourites to win at out-of-form Huddersfield at 8/5 with Betfair and Betway.
Huddersfield are yet to score in open play this season and the Cottagers won their most recent match to nil. A Fulham win to nil will return 7/2 with Bet365.
You can also bet against both teams to score at 11/10 with Bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power and Betway. Under 2.5 goals will return a best price of 10/11 with Bet365.
Aleksandar Mitrovic, the match winner when these teams last met last season, is a best price of 31/20 to score at any time after opening his account for 2019-20 last weekend.
Fulham have made a better start to life back in the Championship after recording their first win last weekend. With some good attacking prowess, they can make it two wins in a row against out-of-form Huddersfield Town.