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Parker switches focus to preparation for Championship return

Fulham caretaker boss Scott Parker believes now is the perfect time for the club to “get ahead of the game” in their preparations for a promotion push next season.

The Cottagers will be kicking off in the Championship come August after relegation was finally confirmed with a 4-1 defeat at Watford on April 2.

There are, though, signs of some positives for the future as Parker’s side rallied to beat Everton last weekend which halted a run of nine straight defeats.

Parker has yet to learn whether he will be at the helm to try to tackle the challenges of an unrelenting Championship campaign head on next season.

The former Fulham midfielder, who replaced Claudio Ranieri in February, believes the rebuilding process needs to begin quickly to stay ahead of their promotion rivals.

“I think it will be beneficial to everyone at the football club to take this time to really focus, reassess, and plan for next year,” Parker said.

“It is going to be a big year, obviously a difficult year in a difficult league.

“But we know where we are and I feel this time is a massive opportunity to get ahead of the game, to plan and prepare for a massive campaign to try and get back into this division.”

Despite suggestions Parker is in pole position to be given the manager’s job full-time once the dust settles on a disappointing Premier League campaign, the 38-year-old will just focus on matters in hand.

“I have not spoken to the board regarding me personally. I’ve spoken to (vice-chairman) Tony (Khan) quite often,” Parker said at a press conference reported by the club.

“He has been in the country for some time now supporting the team.

“I am often in dialogue with him regarding plans for next season and the steps we are taking to prepare ourselves the best we can for a massive season next year.”

Parker confirmed defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah was doubtful for Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth with a knee ligament problem.

“He will be further assessed over the coming days to see where we are,” Parker said.