Soccer-Fulham's Parker hopes Chelsea might be 'off it' in derby

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Premier League - Arsenal v Fulham
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LONDON (Reuters) - Fulham manager Scott Parker admits to hoping Chelsea are a little bit "off it" in Saturday's Premier League derby at Stamford Bridge when defeat for his side would be a hammer blow to their chances of avoiding relegation.

With five games remaining Parker's side are third-bottom of the table, seven points behind Brighton & Hove Albion, and he knows time is running out.

Chelsea are fourth and will have one eye on next Wednesday's Champions League semi-final at home to Real Madrid having drawn 1-1 in Spain.

"We're playing against a really good side who are in good form," Parker said on Thursday. "When you're going to Stamford Bridge and you're a team like us, luck needs to be with you and we need to play exceptionally well.

"Everything needs to go for us in that sense. We have to be very, very hard to beat, and we have to hope that there's certain elements of Chelsea which are a little bit off it."

Having clawed themselves back to within sight of the safety zone, Fulham have collected only one point from their last five games.

Parker, however, remains upbeat about his side's chances at Stamford Bridge, even if Fulham have failed to win in their last 18 visits there.

"Do I believe we can go there and get a result? Yeah I do. But at the same time I realise the challenge, I realise the quality we're up against," he said.

"It's a team bang in form, a team that have done very, very well. Albeit a difficult situation for us in terms of where we are in this division, this is one we can't wait to play in."

While Fulham cannot be relegated this weekend even if they lose, Parker accepts their situation would be desperate.

"If we don’t go and beat Chelsea, I get that come Monday morning, that challenge is going to be harder," he said.

"There’s still a lot of games, but we all understand that that challenge is becoming very, very difficult for us."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)