Slavisa Jokanovic: Chris Martin committed to Fulham

Date published: Saturday 4th March 2017 10:45

Slavisa Jokanovic insists Chris Martin is fully committed to Fulham’s play-off push after the striker marked his return to the side with a goal in the 3-1 victory over Preston.

Martin was recalled after being left out of last weekend’s trip to Cardiff and responded by scoring his first goal in six league games to take his season tally to 11.

The striker had been in dispute with the club after he was denied the chance to return to parent club Derby in January, but Jokanovic insists a line has now been drawn under that matter and that Martin will play a full role in Fulham’s bid to close the five-point gap to sixth place.

Fulham manager Jokanovic said: “The situation of Chris Martin is completely normal. He is working with us and when I decide to use him he is available for the fight.

“He is here for Fulham and I expect him to score more goals. He played well today and I think he can play better.”

Sone Aluko’s 22nd-minute goal had put the home side on course for victory before Martin doubled the lead on the hour.

Tom Barkhuizen gave Preston hope when he made it 2-1 in the 67th minute but Neeskens Kebano added a third for Fulham 12 minutes from time to seal the win and keep the Cottagers within touching distance of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places.

Jokanovic said: “We are around the top six and we now want to close the gap to the top six. This is our target and we are still in position to be fighting to play after the first week in May.

“We have taken 13 points from the last five games and my team plays with confidence.

“I believe that for my team, this is the best way to play for us, but it is not so usual in the Championship. And we are going to keep going.

“I am not so romantic, I always want to win. The choice of how we play is the way I think is the best way to get three points. In general where we are now, we can be relatively satisfied.”

Defeat left Preston nine points adrift of the top six but assistant manager Glynn Snodin insists the club will not give up on the play-offs.

He said: “Of course it’s still possible. These boys will never give up. We’ll go to Derby on Tuesday and see where that takes us.”

But Snodin admitted North End were second best at Craven Cottage, adding: “We’ve come up against a good side today. I felt they were different class, a step above us.

“To be fair to our players they kept going and got back in it at 2-1. They have got belief as a unit and always believe we can get something from a game.

“But they (Fulham) are a good counter-attacking side with good footballing brains. And that’s what we’ve been undone by today.

“It’s great for Tom to get a goal and it was a great finish.

“We have to give credit to our players for what they have done today and what they have done this season.”

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