Fulham boss considers promoting fringe stars for Brighton clash after cup win

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Slavisa Jokanovic revealed that Fulham’s fringe players had moved into contention to feature against Brighton in the Premier League after impressing in the 2-0 victory over Exeter in the Carabao Cup.

The Serbian’s team eased into the competition’s third round with two goals from Aboubakar Kamara on an evening in which he had changed his entire starting XI.

He handed debuts to summer signings Alfie Mawson and Sergio Rico, the latter in goal, despite Fulham securing their first points of the season in Sunday’s victory over Burnley, and his overhaul was rewarded as Ryan Sessegnon, Kamara and Stefan Johansen all excelled.

They visit Brighton on Saturday hoping to further the sense of momentum that is gathering after beginning their season with successive defeats, and the 50-year-old Jokanovic said: “We must be satisfied to win. We are in a process where we could still do a better job, playing faster with less touches and we can show more quality.

“I was really happy with the ambition of the team. Some players could find themselves participating against Brighton on Saturday. We need to find the best starting XI.

“We can start even quicker and move the ball even faster.

“I am always happy with a player when he scores two goals. Kamara is Kamara, he can offer something to the team that is different. These goals could be important for him.”

The fit-again Mawson was replaced by Steven Sessegnon after 75 minutes as Jokanovic focused on match fitness.

Jokanovic said of the substituted central defender’s performance: “It was the first time Alfie played with his new team-mates. He showed his quality, power, strength in the air, experience and some organisation too.”

The only negative for Fulham, following Kamara’s finishes shortly after kick-off and half-time, came when they lost Neeskens Kebano to suspected ligament damage.

League Two Exeter had made eight changes to their starting XI, which included debuts for Jimmy Oates and Dara O’Shea.

The focus of their manager Matt Taylor clearly remains the league campaign that has so far taken them to third place, and he said: “It was a tough game, tough night, but I learnt a lot in terms of our squad.

“For the first 15 to 20 minutes I felt we gave them too much respect. We didn’t quite get after them or get into them as much as I would have liked.

“Had Matt Jay’s shot (at 1-0 down) gone in and not hit the post it might have been a different story.

“But conceding so early puts you on the back foot and saps your confidence straight away.

“The group will be better from this.”

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