Bournemouth defender Steve Cook believes his side can use Friday’s Championship encounter against Fulham as a launchpad to build some momentum heading into the Christmas period (Fulham 4/5, Draw 11/4, Bournemouth 10/3 – match result).

The Cottagers sit top of the table at the moment, but the Cherries are only one place behind and it looks increasingly like they will be the teams to beat in the race for automatic promotion, with Queens Park Rangers their closest rivals in third, seven points behind.

Fulham (1/2 to win the Championship – outright) are unbeaten in nine matches in the second tier, while Scott Parker’s Bournemouth have started to struggle, winning just one of their previous five.

Despite their recent drop in form, Cook believes the Cherries can use Friday’s game as a catalyst to move away from the chasing pack.

He told the club’s official website: “I think the game has come at a very good time for us; we haven’t won in three and have had a couple of mixed results.

“Hopefully, now we can go back on a little run and lay down a bit of a statement going into the Christmas period.

“After the game last weekend, I think the lads were quite down, but this is football. You’re going to have times like this, and it’s never plain sailing in the Championship – it’s so up and down.

“We’ve had such an incredible start; this is just a little bump in the road, but it’s no problem, and we’ll hopefully respond on Friday with a good result.”

Bournemouth (11/4 to win the Championship – outright) duo Jefferson Lerma and Chris Mepham are suspended, meaning Gary Cahill could partner Cook at the heart of the defence.

Fulham coach Marco Silva has no fresh injury concerns, with Bobby Cordova-Reid hoping to get the nod to start.

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