Fulham plot course into further uncharted territory with FA Cup adventure
Just like in the Premier League, Fulham are going against the grain in the FA Cup.
The Cottagers are into the fifth round for the first time since 2016-17 and host Leeds tonight bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009-10.
Fulham have reached the FA Cup final only once, losing 2-0 to West Ham in 1975, and never gone beyond the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
For a club of their size, they have been an underwhelming history in cup competitions.
Marco Silva’s side are already hunting European qualification this season and now have another goal to chase.
Silva will know what a cup run would do for players, supporters, and his own reputation.
Roy Hodgson will forever be held in the highest regard at Fulham for taking the club to the Europa League final in 2009, where they narrowly lost to Atletico Madrid after knocking out Basel, Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus on some unforgettable nights.
Fulham showed in their fourth-round replay win over Sunderland that they have the squad depth to challenge on two fronts. Now they must put that into practice against Leeds, who are buoyed by beating Southampton under new manager Javi Gracia at the weekend.
Fulham have conceded just eight goals in their 13 matches since the World Cup break, and Silva has declared top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic fit to play some part tonight.
The club’s cup record in the FA Cup is poor but Silva will feel his side can change that.