PNE will face an in-form Cottagers outfit

Ryan Sessegnon tackles Aston Villa's Robert Snodgrass last month
Ryan Sessegnon tackles Aston Villa's Robert Snodgrass last month

Preston’s clash with Fulham at Deepdale will be a battle of two in-form sides.

The Lilywhites can boast a very consistent run of only two defeats in their last 20 league games.

Fulham head to Lancashire having won 11 and drawn three of their last 14 matches in the Championship.

That run has rocketed the Cottagers up to fourth place and given them a real chance of competing for an automatic promotion slot.

Their last league defeat came at Sunderland back on December 16, a result which left them in 12th place. They have been on an upward 
protectory since and clearly playing with confidence.

Fulham have won three games on the bounce and four of their last five.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has been on target in the last four games after he signed on loan on deadline day from Newcastle.

Mitrovic is a player who North End will be only too aware of from last season.

The striker scored four goals against them in the space of a few days – twice in the League Cup and two more in the Championship.

He was set to join his former club Anderlecht on deadline day but when that move fell through, Fulham made a late move.

Cottagers manager Slavisa Jokanovic is delighted to have his fellow Serb on board.

After seeing Mitrovic score twice in the 3-0 victory over Sheffield United on Tuesday, Jokanovic said: “I expected him to be like this.

“He’s a quality player and he has started well with us. He is a proper striker, what we have been looking for, for a long period.

“Mitrovic brings us different options.

“People are thinking I need the help, yes I need the help, but the Fulham players need the help too.

“He’s a great signing for us. He started well, now he has adapted and I still think he can do better. He scored two goals and did a great job for us against Sheffield United.

“Mitrovic protected and held many balls for the guys and worked well for the goals, and he can also help at set-pieces and defend set-pieces.”

Also on target for Fulham in the win over the Blades was midfielder Tom Cairney.

Reflecting on the victory, Jokanovic said: “I thought it was a good performance. It’s not easy to play against them but we adapted ourselves and in the end we controlled and managed the situation in the perfect way.”

Fulham’s stand-out player this season has been teenager Ryan Sessegnon.

The 17-year-old has scored 14 league goals in 36 starts, playing at either left-back or on the wing.

It is that form which has seen both Tottenham and Liverpool linked with a £35m move for him.

However, it might take a lot more money to get him.

North End drew 2-2 with Fulham in October, goals from Jordan Hugill and Sean Maguire putting them 2-0 up.

The hosts pulled one back before equalising with almost the last kick of the game.