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Fulham and QPR both looking upwards as they aim to create west London history

The Cottagers welcome Rangers on Saturday lunchtime for a derby clash – and both clubs have big ambitions of a return to the Premier League come the end of this season

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Prutton assesses West Brom, Fulham and Sheff Utd’s chances of success

There’s a fairly big derby happening in west London this weekend.

No, not the Premier League meeting between Brentford and Chelsea on Saturday teatime.

We’re referring to the Championship dust-up between Fulham and QPR, which kicks off five hours earlier and is sure to be just as entertaining and high on drama.

Both sides have made impressive starts to the season and both occupied play-off spots heading into the international break.

That they are the two highest scorers in the division bodes well for those in attendance at Craven Cottage, and neutrals watching live on TV.

But while local bragging rights are at stake in the short-term, the big picture for both sides is to join their aforementioned neighbours in the top flight.



The two sides last met in January, in an FA Cup tie that Fulham won 2-0




Fulham are seemingly in a constant state of flux, this being their fifth consecutive season in a different division. They won’t be wanting to buck the trend just yet though, as they aim for another immediate return to the top table.

The surprise departure of Scott Parker in the summer led the club to opting for Marco Silva as a replacement. Despite having held three previous roles in English football, Silva had never experienced life outside the top flight.







If there were any doubts in Fulham fans’ minds then Silva quickly dispelled them with a barnstorming start. He landed the August manager of the month award with 13 points from their first five games.

Three defeats in their last six outings have blotted the copybook ever so slightly but they remain well on course to continue their yo-yo-ing. And it always helps when you have a player such as Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is ruthless in front of goal in this division.



Aleksandar Mitrovic (left) is the joint-top scorer in the Championship with ten goals so far.




As for Rangers, a summer of canny additions made them many people’s dark horses for promotion this term. Their encouraging form at the end of last season has been built on by Mark Warburton’s side and they look like they are capable of lasting the distance this time around.

This is their seventh consecutive season in the Championship but last year represented the first top-ten finish in all that time, indicating how much of a struggle the club have found it re-adapting to life outside the Premier League.







In Warburton they have a man who knows what it takes to succeed in this corner of the capital. He was only head coach of Brentford for 18 months but he delivered promotion from the third tier and then a play-off appearance in their first season back in the Championship after a 21-year absence.

A successful spell at Glasgow Rangers followed before a forgettable period as boss at Nottingham Forest.

Now in situ at QPR, he is slowly re-calibrating their expectations and has formed an exciting squad that blends the nous of Charlie Austin with exciting talents such as Ilias Chair and Rob Dickie.



Rob Dickie has been a key player in QPR’s impressive start to the season




Saturday’s meeting has the potential to be a classic but it is unlikely to be a deciding factor in where both teams end up come May.

With regards those long-term prospects, it should be noted that there has not been one season where all four West London clubs have been in the top division together.

Brentford look like holding their end of the bargain up after their fine start to life back at the top table.

This meeting at the Cottage will be a good indicator as to whether either of these teams look set to join them next season.


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