Jokanovic eyeing a third scalp at PNE

Fulham travel to Preston this weekend having won their opening two games '“ but with totally different teams.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 12th August 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:15 pm
Fulhams Dennis Odoi (left) and Newcastles Matt Ritchie battle at Craven Cottage
Fulhams Dennis Odoi (left) and Newcastles Matt Ritchie battle at Craven Cottage

The Londoners produced what was seen as a shock result of the first weekend of the Championship when they beat Newcastle 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

For Tuesday night’s 3-2 win at Leyton Orient, head coach Slavisa Jokanovic changed all 11 players.

Presumably, his selection at Deepdale will revert back to something akin to that which saw off Newcastle.

Jokanovic has been busy shaping the Cottagers squad to his liking over the summer.

He took the Fulham job at Christmas and worked in the main for the second half of last season with what he had inherited.

There have been plenty of changes over the last couple of months, notably the exit of last term’s prolific strikers Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele.

The pair netted 36 league goals between them but have gone their separate ways.

Demeble, who had reached the end of his contract, went to Celtic.

Last week, Aston Villa paid £12m for McCormack, the second big-money move of his career after Fulham paid Leeds £11m for him.

With them gone, forward duties fell to Floyd Ayite, Sone Aluko and Matt Smith against Newcastle.

It was former Leeds man Smith who scored the winner late in the first half.

Ayite and Aluko were both close-season signings, Ayite from French side Bastia and Aluko on a free transfer after leaving Hull City.

Jokanovic is looking to do more recruiting though, with the £12m from McCormack burning a hole in the pocket.

He said: “I don’t want to bring in more young players at the moment,

“I am looking for senior players.

“I need strikers and we are looking at the market. I need a bigger senior squad and I hope to sign someone very, very soon.”

Reflecting on the win over Newcastle, Jokanovic was not surprisingly a content man.

“What was different from last season is that we played with energy, with the right mentality, like a serious football team that can win games,” said Jokanovic.

“It was a great result for us, a perfect start and I was very pleased.

“ We prepared well in 
pre-season and they showed they understand what they must do on the field.

“We made one step, it is short and we have to be happy.

“But now we have to be ready for what’s in front of us.

“If we follow this way we can think about a better season than the last few years.”

Other summer transfer business done by Fulham saw Michael Madl arrive from Sturm Graz in Austria and Denis Odoi from Belgian club Lokeren.

Goalkeeper David Button made the short trip from Brentford, with Scott Malone signing from Cardiff in a swap deal with Jazz Richards.

On the eve of the season, Kevin McDonald joined from Wolves for £1.25m.

The exit door has been well used too.

Ben Pringle joining North End and ex-Preston goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan going to Wolves, were just two of the outgoing deals done.