WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: West Brom manager Roy Hodgson smiles during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Bolton Wanderer at The Hawthorns on November 19, 2011 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
The visit of West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday evening holds significantly more importance to Fulham fans than its potential for a midweek collection of three, much-needed points. Roy Hodgson is the reason why, as he will be gracing the away dugout, undoubtedly with the support of the whole ground behind him, rather than just the customary away following. He was one of the biggest managers in Fulham's history, and unquestionably one of the most successful, so he'll be welcomed warmly on his first return to Craven Cottage since leaving in the Summer of 2010.
That factor won't detract from the necessity of victory though, as it provides the perfect opportunity for Jol to claim back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since joining the club. Our Dutch manager has still to find a rich vein of form at the Cottage and a lack of consistency has us looking worryingly over our shoulders.
Ever since Hodgson took over at the Hawthorns in early 2011, West Brom have enjoyed relative success, with the former Fulham manager easing them of their relegation worries with plenty of room for breath. Unsurprisingly, his results have come hand in hand with some solid, defensive unity, and although some see this as negative football, his Midlands team do find themselves seven points clear of the drop and with some reputable victories in the bag so far this season.
We know all to well of Hodgson's style, and Martin Jol will undoubtedly look to exploit it. The Baggies perhaps have the upper, pre-emptive hand, though, with the likes of Mark Schwarzer, Brede Hangeland, Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora all too familiar to Hodgson. They still provide the core influence to our team and in all honesty, not too much has changed since the West Brom manager left for Merseyside two years ago.
Not too dissimilar to ours, The Baggies' form has been indifferent of late, two defeats to Norwich City, one in the league, one in the cup, coming either side of a well-fought away victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. Unlike in SW6, Hodgson hasn't had many away day blues - quite the opposite, with only eight points from the Hawthorns and 17 on their travels. To that extent, his side can be considered a decent threat when they visit the Cottage.
The defeat to Everton on Friday evening took the wind from our proverbial sails, but the extra days rest could prove integral to Wednesday's result. Before that, wins against Newcastle United and Arsenal rounded off a decent January - the 3-1 loss at Blackburn being the only major blemish.
The last time West Brom visited South West London, then manager Roberto Di Matteo was on his last legs. They suffered at our hands, dropping to a 3-0 defeat little over a year ago, with Davies, Dempsey and Hangeland scoring. Before that, Di Matteo had humbled us at the Hawthorns with a 2-1 win.
West Brom come to the Cottage with a few injury concerns on their minds, Jerome Thomas and Gonzao Jara-Reyes the latest to be confirmed doubtful. Thomas has suffered an ankle injury while Jara-Reyes has abductor muscle worries. Paul Scharner is unlikely to feature and Zoltan Gera and Chris Brunt are long term absentees.
Potential new signings aside, Fulham have not confirmed any fresh injury worries. Moussa Dembele may return while Simon Davies is expected to be in or around the squad. Zdenek Grygera is the only certainty to miss out but Mark Schwarzer is unlikely to have recovered.
Predicted line-up: Stockdale; Riise, Hangeland, Senderos, Kelly; Dempsey, Murphy, Sidwell, Dembele; Johnson, Ruiz