Defeat at Derby County was disappointing, but far from a disgrace.

Now it’s all about how Chris Powell’s Town bounce back against Kit Symons’ Fulham.

It’s a showdown of two manager of the month nominees on the banks of the River Thames as Town make their first visit to Craven Cottage since November 2000.

That’s a reflection of the encouraging October form shown by both clubs, who began the campaign with Mark Robins and Felix Magath at their respective helms.

After 13 seasons of Premier League football, Fulham have found the transition to the second tier testing.

Magath was ousted with the Cottagers bottom of the table with just one point from their first seven games.

Symons, a former Fulham player (the defender also wore the colours of Portsmouth, Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Wales), has brought stability as well as points.

Five wins in nine games in all competitions earned him the job on a permanent basis as well as that manager of the month chance.

But the last three games have brought a 5-2 thumping at home to Derby in the Capital One Cup and Championship draws at Wigan and at home to Blackpool on Wednesday.

 

Symons’ 21st-placed side had to come back from two down against Lee Clark’s Tangerines.

They will be desperate to make a flying start against Town – and to go on and collect the three points which would bolster their climb away from the trouble zone.

Town are six places and five points better off, and showed against Nottingham Forest last Saturday just what they are capable of.

A scintillating show made it four wins in seven unbeaten games.

But fast-flowing Derby showed the level Powell and his players must aspire to as they clinched a 3-2 victory which while Town were competitive, was fairly comprehensive.

The manager has always said there will always be work to do and improvements to be made.

But things are going in the right direction, and more than 2,500 Town fans will head to Craven Cottage with optimism.