Scott Parker is enjoying his best moment yet as Fulham caretaker manager, riding high on a wave of optimism and positive results.
Yet nevertheless, questions of experience and fitness for the full-time job are hounding him. For the Englishman, the final three matches of Fulham’s season will prove crucial in his bid for the permanent position.
After taking over from Claudio Ranieri in February, Parker inherited a side at their lowest moment all campaign. The brutal loss to Southampton essentially sealed relegation and revealed a side devoid of confidence.
Parker engineered plucky performances against Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, and Manchester City — but emerged with no points from his first four matches.
Then came the capitulation at Watford that sealed the Whites’ demotion to the Championship. That midweek night, all hope seemed lost for a Parker managerial extension, with Fulham thoroughly outclassed and out-managed in the second half at Vicarage Road.
But following the fateful night of relegation, spirits have shifted dramatically in SW6. Against Everton, the Whites blew away the in-form Toffees, bossing the play in midfield and stifling attacks.
Away at Bournemouth, the momentum from the first win in months carried over. Fulham weathered an early storm and grew into the game with poise, implementing their famed passing style with flair and easily sweeping away the Cherries.
The past two victories — the only consecutive wins all season — left many Cottagers supporters wondering where this form was all campaign. It was the Fulham many had expected to see in August —a team that bossed opposition and confidently attacked toe-to-toe with top flight sides.
But despite all the goodwill, Parker still has much to do to convince the higher-ups he is the right man to lead Fulham next season. The last three matches against Cardiff City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Newcastle United will be integral in the board’s decision come the summer.
With three more wins, Fulham will leave the league on a high and with a swagger that could continue over into the Championship. And if they end with aplomb, expect Scott Parker to be on the sidelines come August.