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24 December 2016

Mick looking to build momentum ahead of Boxing Day cracker

Mick McCarthy is hoping Town can build on last week’s win at Wigan as he looks to gain some momentum over the second half of the season. 

Blues reach the midway point of the campaign against Fulham on Boxing Day with the Town boss fully aware that his side have a lot to do to close the nine point gap on the Play-Off places.

“We are at the halfway point in the season now and so far it’s been a frustrating one,” Mick writes in his column in Monday’s matchday programme.

“I don’t think we have had too much luck go our way but the simple fact is that we have been too inconsistent and haven’t been able to gain any momentum. 

“What’s got to improve over the second half? Our results. Our performances and if we can do that, then the momentum will come. We will all be working as hard as always to make that happen.”

Town have yet to enjoy successive wins this season and Fulham arrive at Portman Road on the fringes of the top six.

“They are a good side and certainly carry an attacking threat,” added the boss.

“They have goals in them and looking at their squad, I’d expect them to be in the mix for the Play-Off places come May.”

The attendance is likely to be the highest since Norwich were at Portman Road in August and the omens are good for Blues, with an unbeaten record against Fulham stretching back to 1963.

Latest from
Team News
Jonny Williams is out for three months after having surgery on his shoulder during the week. Teddy Bishop is still on the sidelines with an ankle ligament problem while long term absentees Tommy Smith (back) and Luke Hyam (knee) won’t return until 2017. 

On-loan Chris Martin is back after being ineligible for the draw with parent club Derby last time out but Tomas Kalas is out with a hamstring injury and fellow centre-back, Ragnar Sigurdsson, is a doubt after being forced off at half-time against the Rams last weekend.

Where they stand
Town: 15th 
Fulham: 9th

Last time we met
It needed an injury time goal from Jonas Knudsen to give Town a point against the Cottagers at Portman Road back in April. The Danish international finished superbly to keep Blues in with a slim chance of making the Play-Offs. Moussa Dembele's 17th league goal of the season, from Scott Parker's cross, had given Fulham the lead.

Key players
Brett Pitman
The striker has been missed by Blues. He sustained ankle ligament damage in the defeat at Leeds in September when he was leading the line for Mick McCarthy’s side and his absence was felt in the 10 weeks he was out. Pits marked his first start since that injury with two goals in the 3-2 win over Wigan last weekend and his sharpness around goal will provide a threat to the Cottagers.   

Sone Aluko
A product of Birmingham’s Academy, he had spells in Scotland with Aberdeen and Rangers before joining Hull in the summer of 2012. He scored eight goals in 23 matches as the Tigers won promotion to the Premier League, something he helped them repeat last season. The 27-year-old joined Fulham on a two-year deal in the summer of 2016 and has been a regular in the side this season, with four goals.

Match officials
Referee: Oliver Langford  
Assistant referees: Billy Smallwood & Akil Howson 
Fourth official: Robert Whitton

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