Scott Parker issues bold 'back to back' message to Fulham players ahead of Brighton

Fulham boss Scott Parker insists their upcoming matches against fellow strugglers Brighton and West Brom will not define their season.

Fulham manager Scott Park said the Brighton match is "not the be all and end all" for his team's season
Fulham manager Scott Park said the Brighton match is "not the be all and end all" for his team's season

Third-bottom Fulham travel to Brighton, who lie one place and five points above them, on Wednesday night before a trip to West Brom, a point and a place below them, three days later.

The Cottagers recently drew against Liverpool and Tottenham, amid a run of five consecutive draws, and now need to start turning one point into three against the sides around them.

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But Parker has been in relegation battles before as a player and knows the damage that piling too much pressure on single matches can do.

“I think they are big matches but I don’t think they are the be all and end all,” he said.

“We are halfway through a season. They are big because of where both teams are in and around the division but there are still a lot of games.

“As a team we are improving, we have developed. I feel I have a team here who can win two or three games back to back.

“We’ve had a few draws but that’s the way I feel, and when you have that feeling and you are where we are in the table that can be massive.

“We’ve played some of the biggest teams and done pretty well. Now we need to take the next step against the teams in and around us.

“But do I see this game as if we don’t get a result our fate is done? No I don’t. That’s what nearly sends people down.

“What you see a lot of the time is players focusing on the negative. In the end it paralyses them, they can’t really perform. You die too early. There’s half a season left.

“Do I believe in this team? Do I believe we can win two or three on the bounce? 100 per cent.”

Brighton expect to have Adam Lallana and Aaron Connolly back in their squad for Wednesday.

Midfielder Lallana (illness and groin) and striker Connolly (hamstring) have returned to training following their respective injury problems but neither is expected to start.

Tariq Lamptey, Alireza Jahanbakhsh (both hamstring) and Danny Welbeck (knee) remain sidelined.

Fulham are still without captain Tom Cairney, who faces a few more weeks out with a knee injury.

Defender Terence Kongolo also remains unavailable due to a hamstring problem.

Alphonse Areola, Kenny Tete, Ademola Lookman, Ivan Cavaleiro and Harrison Reed return after they were rested for the FA Cup defeat by Burnley.

Brighton provisional squad: Sanchez, Walton, Steele, Veltman, Dunk, White, Webster, Burn, March, Propper, Bissouma, Alzate, Moder, Lallana, Sanders, Jenks, Khadra, Gross, Mac Allister, Trossard, Maupay, Tau, Zeqiri, Connolly.

Fulham provisional squad: Rodak, Aina, Ream, Hector, Tete, Kebano, Lemina, Onomah, Kamara, Mitrovic, Decordova-Reid, Fabri, Carvalho, Jasper, Andersen, Cavaleiro, Lookman, Reed.

Parker confirmed he expects out-of-favour midfielder Stefan Johansen to complete his move to Championship QPR before the window closes.