Cardiff City and Fulham will be afforded the chance to land a critical blow in the fight for Premier League survival on Saturday.
The league's bottom two sides go toe-to-toe at the Cardiff City Stadium in the knowledge that defeat would severely dent their hopes of staying up.
Both clubs have brought in new men at the helm this season - Fulham more than once - in a bid to avoid the drop to the Championship, but their form has remained stubbornly poor.
Fulham, now under the guidance of Felix Magath, are winless in eight league fixtures and have the worst defensive record in the Premier League, having shipped 62 goals this term.
The hosts have fared slightly better in that department, but the 49 they have conceded is more than any other team besides Fulham. It is in front of goal, though, that the top-flight newcomers have really found the going tough.
A return of just 19 goals from 28 games makes Cardiff's attack the most impotent in the league and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have found the net just once in their last five games in all competitions.
In truth, the Norwegian's appointment has done little to revive the Welsh club's on-field fortunes - Cardiff were 16th when Malky Mackay was sacked, one point above the relegation zone and four off the bottom; they are now 19th, three points from safety and one off the bottom.
A third league defeat in a row would send City to the foot of the table, a position that has been occupied by Fulham since February 1.
Magath was highly critical of Fulham's defending in the 3-1 London derby loss to Chelsea last Saturday, when a quick-fire Eden Hazard hat-trick scuppered the hosts' hopes of an upset at Craven Cottage.
The German knows that the challenge he faces is a sizeable one, but he believes that victory over Cardiff, who won the reverse fixture 2-1, could prove crucial.
"The first step is to beat Cardiff and go up a place in the table," he said. "That will give us confidence."
Magath confirmed that striker Kostas Mitroglou is set to be assessed by the club doctor after playing an hour for Greece on Wednesday.
Solskjaer welcomed Gary Medel back for last Sunday's 1-0 loss at Tottenham, while Jordon Mutch came off the bench in that game and will be vying for a start this time around.
|4||S. Caulker||45+1' 67'|
|Coach: O. Solskjær|
for F. Campbell 72'
for G. Medel 80'
for B. Turner 90'
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