Jokanovic expects Cairney to return soon

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Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic expects Tom Cairney to return to the squad against Nottingham Forest after the Whites captain missed the comeback win at Barnsley.

The 27-year-old has been the subject of speculation about a move away from Craven Cottage and was left out of the starting line-up in each of the past three matches as he continues to recover from an ongoing knee problem.

There is interest from West Ham and West Bromwich Albion in Cairney, but Jokanovic expects him to stay.

Jokanovic said: “I spoke with him yesterday and he’s really unhappy with the situation with his knee. He wasn’t available to work with us yesterday, so I didn’t bring him here today.

“I had a plan to put him on the bench, but we expect he will be available for the next game.”

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Despite Cairney’s absence, Fulham stormed to their fourth consecutive league win by seeing off the Tykes 3-1 with goals from Kevin McDonald and Ryan Sessegnon in added time, after Barnsley’s Dimitri Cavaré was sent off just before the break.

“We started the game a little bit nervous,” Jokanovic admitted. “We didn’t find enough pace with the ball, they pressed us very strongly and they scored one goal that was probably a foul.”

He added: “[Cavaré’s] second yellow card was definitely an important moment for my team. With this kind of advantage in the second part of the game, we moved the ball around patiently and, fortunately, we scored the goal early.

“We moved around on the bench and expected to find a solution, but unfortunately it took us until injury time to score the goals.”

The sending-off also prompted Jokanovic to hand January signing Matt Targett a debut at left-back as he substituted Denis Odoi at half-time to add a more attacking threat.

On Targett, the Serbian said: “He’s a great offensive player with a very good left foot. We tried to be more aggressive and put him on the pitch.

“He’s been working with us for only three or four training sessions and needs a bit of time to adapt. He did a great job for us today but I expect he can be better still.”