Neil Warnock believes Cardiff’s perfect record in the Sky Bet Championship will come under threat when they travel to Fulham on Saturday.
Warnock was named manager of the month for August after guiding Cardiff to the top of the table with victories in all of their five opening matches.
Manchester United are the only other team in England’s top four divisions to boast a 100 per cent record – but Cardiff put theirs on the line this weekend on a tough trip to Craven Cottage.
“It is going to be a real good challenge,” Warnock said. “I think they were the best team we played last year and in the play-offs, I thought if they got past Reading they’d have gone up.
“I think it’s soon [that Fulham will get promoted]. I have lost in the play-offs once. It’s a horrible feeling and it’s very difficult to get the lads up, no matter what you say.
“They must have known they were the best team so it’s a double blow to them. They’ve got so many good players, they’ll have a lot of the ball.”
Fulham have had a mixed start to the season, having drawn three of their opening five games but Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich will be hoping they find their form as the Tractor Boys look to take top spot.
Another unfancied side for promotion, Ipswich are three points adrift of Cardiff and are also in west London as they take on QPR.
At the other end of the table, Norwich host Birmingham as two sides who have got off to poor starts meet at Carrow Road.
Life for Norwich under Daniel Farke has started slowly and they have just four points – as do Harry Redknapp’s Blues.
Redknapp added six new recruits between the 2-0 loss at Reading and the close of the transfer window, including the club-record signing of striker Jota. And the former West Ham and Tottenham boss is ready to throw all of his new faces into the fray in Norfolk.
“It’s not like I’m changing a winning team, I’m changing a team that has been struggling to get results, so it’s a new beginning,” he told the club’s website.
“I’ve got to get results. Let’s see how we go but I feel that there is a squad here now going forward that will give Birmingham as good a team as they’ve seen in a long time.”
eeds welcome Burton looking to keep pace with the leaders while Wolves entertain Millwall and Sheffield United travel to Sunderland.
Nottingham Forest are at Sheffield Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Football on Saturday evening, as Preston take on Barnsley, Middlesbrough go to Bolton, Reading host Bristol City and Brentford travel to Aston Villa.
On Friday night, Derby thumped Hull 5-0.