Gerhard Struber believes tomorrow’s hosts Fulham’s possession-based style could make them an easier side for Barnsley to defeat than some of their recent opponents.

The Cottagers are third in the table, level on points with Leeds United who are in the second automatic promotion place, but just three ahead of seventh-placed Bristol City. Barnsley are last, nine points adrift of safety.

Struber said: “I like Fulham very much. On the ball they have a clear plan and they build up with good possession. As a coach, it is very interesting to look at Fulham games. It is an opponent who play more into my cards than other opponents with only long balls. Maybe it is a good opponent for us to face.

"We have, in my pressing style, I hope, good chances to win balls very high and maybe this is a good chance for us. It is a very difficult game but I hope for the best for my boys. Fulham is a massive opponent and they are playing well right now. They are the big favourite in this game but we will play with a good attitude and energy.”

Barnsley began this season with a 1-0 win over Fulham, thanks to a Luke Thomas goal. Struber said: “It is a good reminder. When we have a good energy in the team, when we are clear in our mindset, it is not so easy against Barnsley. But, when we make mistakes, they take out our energy like a vampire. That is our big problem.”

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Fulham won their next three league games after their Oakwell loss but then triumphed three times in 11 fixtures before a four-match winning run was followed by three straight defeats at the start of December. But they have lost just one of their last ten, winning six. They drew 1-1 in their London derby at Millwall on Wednesday evening, with the hosts missing a penalty. Fulham have one of the best home records in the Championship, while no side in the division have won more games on their home turf than the Cottagers’ ten from 16 games. Fulham – managed by former England captain Scott Parker – have won their last three home games in all competitions.

In contrast, no Championship side has fewer goals, points or wins away from home this season than Barnsley who have lost 11 of 15 on the road. Barnsley’s top-scorer Cauley Woodrow spent seven years with Fulham who sold him to the Reds last season. He scored 12 goals in 66 games for the London club but has 31 in 64 for Barnsley including 11 in the Championship this season. Alfie Mawson, the former Barnsley captain who Fulham signed for £20million, is out after having surgery on his knee.

The opening day victory was the Reds’ first win over the Cottagers for almost 20 years since March 2000 and ended a run of four successive Fulham wins in the fixture.  Barnsley’s last win at Fulham was in 1999 when they came from behind to win 3-1 thanks to an own goal then strikes by Bruce Dyer and Robin Van Der Laan. They have since lost there three times, 5-1 in 2000 then 2-0 and 2-1 in 2017. Their last 17 trips to Fulham since 1947 have brought just two wins and ten losses. This will be the 82nd meeting of the two clubs, with Barnsley having won 32 and lost 26.