International Soccer - England

Fulham's quest for safety starts at West Brom

Liverpool, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Fulham's bid to stave off relegation and remain in the Premier League will begin on Saturday when the club heads to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion.

The contest will be Felix Magath's first in charge of the Cottagers after the German replaced Rene Meulensteen last week, and Magath has insisted that last- place Fulham will avoid the drop to remain in the English top flight next season.

"In the next months we will have a lot of work to avoid relegation but in the first days here the work we've achieved has been very good," Magath told Sky Sports. "I'm sure we will avoid relegation with this team as the players are willing to avoid relegation. We have a good atmosphere at the club when we all work together. We are able to avoid relegation and that's now the most important thing.

"Now we have to concentrate on the next 12 games, especially on the game on Saturday against West Brom."

Fulham enters the weekend at the bottom of the table on 20 points, four points adrift of safety. A win at the Hawthorns would lift the Cottagers out of the cellar and ahead of Cardiff City, but only if the Welsh club fails to take anything from its home match against Hull City on Saturday.

If there were not 12 matches yet to play, Saturday's fixture at the Hawthorns might be labeled a relegation "six-pointer" given the recent struggles of West Brom. The Baggies have claimed just one win in their last 14 Premier League outings, leaving the club only on the right side of the relegation zone on goal difference.

Sunderland is level with West Brom on 24 points, though goal difference has put the Black Cats in the final spot of the drop zone. It looks unlikely that Sunderland will be able to climb out of the danger area on Saturday as the club heads to the Emirates to face second-place Arsenal.

The title race has been tight for much of the season, but it managed to heat up even more after the last round of fixtures saw the top three clubs held to draws. Those results allowed Liverpool to enter the title conversation as the Reds, who will host Swansea City at Anfield on Sunday, moved to within four points of top spot with a last-gasp defeat of Fulham a fortnight ago.

Chelsea enters the weekend in pole position on 57 points and will have the opportunity to extend its lead atop the table before its title competitors take the pitch. The Blues, kicking off in Saturday's early fixture, will host sixth-place Everton at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester City sits two points out of first place and will welcome Stoke City to the Etihad while Tottenham, seven points adrift of Chelsea in fifth place, will head to Carrow Road on Sunday to face Norwich City.

Also on Saturday, Manchester United will look to avoid a four-match winless run in Premier League play by claiming three points against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park while Southampton, unbeaten in its last six league outings, will travel to Upton Park to face a West Ham side that has won three straight.

Sunday's other Premier League fixture will see Newcastle, on a three-match slide, welcome Aston Villa to St. James' Park.

02/21 11:59:36 ET

Powered by The Sports Network.