Match Previews

In Focus: Fulham

Norwich City kick off their 2017-18 Sky Bet Championship campaign with an away trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Here’s a closer look at what City fans can expect from their opponents at the weekend.

Summer signings
Fulham made arguably their biggest signing of the summer transfer window last week when they signed 22-year-old French striker Aboubakar Kamara from Ligue 1 side Amiens.

Kamara scored 11 goals in 29 games last season as the French club secured promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history. His £5m transfer was manager Slavisa Jokanovic’s sixth summer signing, added to the arrivals of Marcelo Djalo, Lucas Piazon, Oliver Norwood, Tomas Kalas and Belgian defensive midfielder Ibrahima Cisse.

Cisse joined the club from Standard Liege for a fee of around £2.1 million in July and could make his debut for the Cottagers against City on Saturday. The 23-year-old is an U21 international with Belgium and scored in the 2016-17 Europa League for his former club when they beat Panathinaikos 3-0 in the group stages.

Key players
Floyd Ayite (below) scored the third goal in Fulham’s victory at Carrow Road last season and was instrumental in their terrific campaign which almost ended in promotion. The Togo international winger grabbed nine goals and seven assists in 35 appearances last year and proved to be a hugely influential player in Fulham’s best season since 2014.

Another source of Fulham’s creativity last season was captain Tom Cairney. He, too, scored in the 3-1 win over the Canaries and was named EFL Player of the Year at the London Football Awards in March. Cairney made his Scotland international debut last season, five years after his previous outing on the international stage with the U21s which outlines the extent to which he impressed in 2016-17.

Fulham are also a force at the back and on-loan defender Tomas Kalas has become a real asset to Jokanovic’s defence. Kalas played 36 times for the Cottagers last season and scored once, while helping his team keep ten clean sheets in games he played.

Fulham decided to take the Czech defender back on loan for this season and his place at the heart of the back four is almost a certainty ahead of the new campaign.

Canary connections
There are several connections between the two clubs, with the most relevant at the moment being City’s new left-back James Husband.

Husband, 23, signed for the Canaries from Middlesbrough in July and played 17 times for the Cottagers while on loan there in 2015.

Suffolk-born Chris Martin, who made 117 appearances for City between 2006 and 2013, spent much of last season on loan from Derby County. He scored 10 times including once against the Canaries in the 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage in November. Martin was also sent off in the return fixture.

Ex-Norwich midfielder and manager Peter Grant is currently head coach of Fulham’s U23s squad, who will be taking on the young Canaries at the end of October.

In the squad
Goalkeepers: Marcus Bettinelli, David Button.
Defenders: Ryan Fredericks, Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi, Tim Ream, Michael Madl, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Marcelo Djalo, Tomas Kalas.
Midfielders: Kevin McDonald, Neeskens Kebano, Stefan Johansen, Tom Cairney, Oliver Norwood, Ibrahima Cisse.
Forwards: Floyd Ayite, Cauley Woodrow, Lucas Piazon, Sone Aluko, Aboubakar Kamara.

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