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Scott Parker looking forward to Fulham locking horns with Brentford again

Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday – Carabao Cup – Third Round – Craven Cottage
(Image credit: Paul Childs)

Fulham manager Scott Parker is relishing the prospect of another west London derby with Brentford after dispatching Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup.

The Cottagers set up a rematch of last month’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final following first-half goals from Aboubakar Kamara and Bobby Decordova-Reid in a 2-0 third-round success over the Owls.

Parker’s side overcame their near neighbours 2-1 at Wembley to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

While he acknowledges there will be far less at stake in next week’s last-16 tie, the 39-year-old is looking forward to once again locking horns with Thomas Frank’s Bees.

“It’s a derby in the next round of the cup so of course it’s a big game for both sides,” he said.

“The last time we played, that game was certainly a lot bigger than the one we are going to be playing next week.

“That’s not to put the game coming up down in any way, that’s the reality.

“As always when it’s a London derby and you’re up against your rivals there’s always a little bit more of an edge to it.

“We’re looking forward to playing against a very, very good Brentford side, which they are.”

Fulham had little trouble overcoming a fully-changed Wednesday side after Kamara and Reid each struck within the opening 32 minutes.

Kamara tapped Anthony Knockaert’s pass into an empty net in the ninth minute, before Reid scored for the second successive match by turning home Josh Onomah’s centre.

After being beaten 3-0 by Arsenal and losing 4-3 at Leeds in their first two top-flight fixtures of the season, Parker is eager for his side to tighten up defensively.

He believes keeping clean sheets is crucial to the club’s chances of staying in the Premier League and, following the shutout against the Owls, hopes they can become a habit, starting at home to Aston Villa on Monday.

“We are not the only team in this league at this moment in time that’s letting in a lot of goals,” said Parker, who made seven changes for the visit of the South Yorkshire club.

“There are a lot of teams in this situation, that’s the division you’re in.

“But certainly it’s always key to build on clean sheets and get into the habit.

“They’re going to be crucial for us this year. It’s a good thing tonight that we’ve managed to keep a clean sheet and score a couple.”

Owls boss Garry Monk changed his entire team for the trip to the capital.

Wednesday enjoyed greater first-half possession but, having gone close to an equaliser through Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, faded after the break.

Monk was satisfied with the display and felt inexperience proved decisive.

“I don’t think there was any shame in the performance at all,” said Monk.

“We were competitive for large parts of it. I think what it came down to in the end was a little bit of naivety in the two goals we conceded.

“With young players on the pitch, unfortunately that can happen.

“On the other side of it, if we had taken one of our big chances in the first half it could have made it a different game.”