Fulham visit Hull City on Saturday hoping to build on the momentum of their Boxing Day win over Norwich City as they battle to beat the drop.
A late goal from Scott Parker secured the Cottagers only their second win in ten Premier League games and leaves them well placed to begin 2014 out of the relegation zone if they can tame the Tigers at the KC Stadium.
The relief was palpable among the Fulham contingent at Carrow Road after Parker's goal secured a 2-1 win but head coach Rene Meulensteen cautioned the Cottagers won't know the true relevance of the victory until later in the season.
"It could be a very significant goal, but that's something we'll only know when weeks and weeks, and months and months, go by," Meulensteen told the official club website. "But I'm delighted with the three points.
"I'm delighted with Scott scoring the winner because his character and his leadership on the pitch typifies the sort of performances we've had in the last couple of weeks, and this one was no different. I'm delighted with the points - they're very, very important - and it gives us a good base to travel up to Hull."
Fulham (5-1-12) reinforced their ranks for the relegation dogfight with additions on and off the park on Christmas Eve. United States forward Clint Dempsey signed a two-month loan deal from Major League Soccer outfit Seattle Sounders and Alan Curbishley, former manager of Charlton Athletic and West Ham United, joined the club as first-team technical director.
"I'm absolutely delighted that Alan has joined us," said Meulensteen. "It's something that the club was looking to do even before I joined Fulham so there's no surprise there. It was just finding the right sort of combination and Alan is going to provide me with fantastic support with the experience that he can bring to the table."
The emotions for Hull City on Boxing Day could not have been more contrasting to the jubilation at Fulham.
Manager Steve Bruce was left agonizing over what might have been as Manchester United overhauled a 2-0 deficit to inflict a 3-2 defeat on the Tigers.
James Chester and David Meyler fired Hull two ahead in only 13 minutes. The champions rallied through goals from Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney before Chester put through his own goal to secure the win for United.
"For how well we've played, unfortunately we've just made too many silly mistakes which has cost us," Bruce told the official club website. "I couldn't ask for any more in terms of how we've approached the game, the way we've played it.
"We've had a wonderful opportunity at 2-0 and we'll all kick ourselves on the way home and it will stay with us but they were fantastic again and this disappointing thing is they just, just made those one or two silly mistakes which unfortunately has cost us the game."
Hull (5-5-8) are now winless in five league games and have come out on top in only two of their last 12.
Bruce has doubts over the fitness of Meyler, Alex Bruce, and goalkeeper Allan McGregor after he left the United match at half time following a collision with Ashley Young.
Fulham goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg will miss the trip with an ankle injury and forward Dimitar Berbatov faces a race against time to be fit for the match.
This will be only the side's fifth-top flight meeting. The teams split the season series last time Hull were in the Premier League with each side recording 2-0 home wins during the 2009/2010 campaign. Jimmy Bullard and Craig Fagen scored for the Tigers in their home win while Bobby Zamora and Diomansy Kamara scored either side of half time to secure the points for Fulham at Craven Cottage.
- Sports & Recreation
- Hull City
- Premier League
- Scott Parker
- Rene Meulensteen
- Alan Curbishley