9 months on from that dramatic opening day meeting at Craven Cottage, City and Fulham renew acquaintances. Andrew Lawn spoke to Russ Goldman to see what's changed since August...
Andy - How do you feel this season has gone? You seemed to start slowly but are flying now?
Russ Goldman - We did start slow, in the first half of the season we had several draws instead of getting all three points, and that first draw came against Norwich.
The reason for the slow start is a combination, as it begins with the injury to Tom Cairney, along with not having a proven goal scorer in the striking department. The third part of it was not finding a replacement for Scott Malone at left back.
The turnaround began at the end of the calendar year, but really kicked into gear in January with the additions of left back Matt Targett, and Aleksandar Mitrovic. These moves coincided with Cairney recovering properly from his knee injury.
These factors along with our passing style of play really being at top form turned the season around to where we are now.
You've given yourself a real platform approaching the season finale, how expectant of finishing the job are the Craven Cottage faithful?
From the supporters I have seen on social media and the messageboards, I would say most see the playoffs as where Fulham will be likely to end up. Most including myself see 2nd as a bridge too far right now.
Should it be the playoffs, would you be confident or is there still a scar from last season?
I am confident this time around because they can now win ugly if they have to. This season they are simply finding ways to win.
However, I will say the match-up is important. If they were to face PNE I fear them more than Aston Villa. PNE will press Fulham and not make it easy on them. It is the clubs that want to play football I fear less.
We definitely want to play football, so it could make for interesting Good Friday fare, although our own season is over already and the remainder is a glorified pre-season. As such, Canary minds are drifting towards the summer and a World Cup you may have an England player at... Just how good is young Ryan Sessegnon?
His finishing is unbelievable right now. He is always at the right place at the right time. He is just starting though and will only get better
Is he the biggest talent you've seen at the club? Fulham have had some good players down the years after all, and should he go to Russia?
He’s the biggest young talent absolutely. He should go to Russia, but not as a left back.
Southgate seems to favour a back 3 so left wing back seems up for grabs. Back to Friday, is it must win for you to keep pressure on Cardiff or would you take a draw?
It has to be a win.
Talking of Cardiff, you've both perked up (you over the last 2 seasons and Cardiff this), after difficult readjustment periods following relegation from the Premier League, as we're experiencing now, and with contrasting playing styles.
What's been the secret of your renaissance?
For me the key has been finding the right head coach and tailoring the players to fit in his style so the credit goes to Slavisa Jokanovic instilling his style, but it goes hand in hand with Tony Khan's recruitment.
The hope here is that we have done the same thing; found the right Head Coach and are now in the process of remodelling the squad to fit his style.
So final question, give us a prediction for Friday?
2-1 to Fulham.
For me the difference will be Mitrovic. Unless you can control his influence on the match, I like Fulham’s chances.
If ever a centre-half was constructed to deal with burly, niggly forwards it was Grant Hanley, so with Mitrovic nullified, I'll go 3-2 City in a high scoring break from our defensively tight season thus far