Following their relegation from the Premier League last season, Fulham recorded their first Championship win of the season against Blackburn Rovers over the weekend, with manager Scott Parker undoubtedly hoping that his side can hit the ground running in what is widely considered to be one of the most competitive competitions in Europe.
The Cottagers have made significant changes when it comes to their playing squad, with big name signings from last year including Jean Michaël Seri and Ryan Babel having made swift exits, whilst wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon made the short move to North London on deadline day when Spurs splashed out £25 for the 19-year-old.
Despite losing such firepower, manager Parker has added quality across the pitch in the form of Anthony Knockaert, Ivan Cavaleiro and Josh Onomah, with the latter having arrived as part of the deal which saw Sessegnon return to the Premier League. As a result, the Whites now appear to have a squad capable of challenging for promotion in the Championship this season, with goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Captain Tom Cairney having helped them to a on Saturday afternoon.
Manager at Craven Cottage, with their chances of gaining promotion straight back to the top-flight potentially resting on their ability to get to grips with playing two games a week on a regular basis throughout the campaign. Fulham certainly have the squad to deal with such rigours however, with Harry Arter and Bobby Reid having also been added to their ranks on deadline day, joining from Bournemouth and Cardiff respectively.
Fulham can be backed to secure promotion at odds of 7/4 with , making them the second favourites behind Leeds United at this early stage of the season. The Cottagers gained promotion to the Premier League after defeating Aston Villa last year, however fans in West London will undoubtedly be hoping that their team can return to the top-flight automatically this time around and joining the list of teams who bounced back to the Premier League
One area in which manager Parker may have a few concerns is in the backline, with a last-minute deal for Chelsea defender Michael Hector having disappointingly collapsed. While a deal for the 27-year-old could well materialise in January, injuries to the likes of Tim Ream or Alfie Mawson would leave them stretched.
Fulham return to action on Friday evening when they take on Huddersfield Town, in what was a Premier League fixture last season. The Cottagers also face Millwall, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City in August, with such encounters potentially providing a much clearer indication as to whether Fulham will be in with a chance of returning to the big time at the first time of asking.