Fulham fans will not have long to wait to see summer signing Joe Bryan back in action at Craven Cottage, with a return date of October 20 predicted by Premier Injuries.
Slavisa Jokanovic had been forced into a selection headache early in the season when Bryan was forced off with an ankle injury just 71 minutes into his debut.
The 25-year-old, however, returned to the Whites’ line-up for upcoming matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley before a one-month absence.
With an injury ruling Bryan out last weekend and Calum Chambers on loan from Arsenal, meaning neither could feature in Fulham’s first London derby with the Gunners since 2014, Jokanovic opted for a three-man defence to hold off the visitors’ charge.
First half displays from Maxime Le Marchand, Tim Ream, and Denis Odoi had mostly counteracted Unai Emery’s tactics, though the second half saw the defenders struggle and goals come far easier for the Spaniard’s side.
Now with Bryan and Chambers both expected to be back available for Fulham’s next match, away to Cardiff City, the Yugoslavian-born head coach can return to his preferred four-man backline.
In Fulham’s successful Championship play-off campaign, allowing Ryan Sessegnon to push forwards proved a key factor for the Cottagers.
Acquiring another left-back in Bryan should have acted as the opportunity to allow last year’s Championship Player and Young Player of the Season to develop in the more advanced role, but he has so far been bungee-corded back to defence due to the Bristol City youth graduate’s recurring absence.
Sessegnon and Jokanovic will look to use Bryan’s return as the next chance to build on the 18-year-old’s progress and really get him firing in the Premier League.