Fulham host Chelsea in the west London derby on Sunday in what will be a baptism of fire for Cottagers caretaker manager Scott Parker.

The 38-year-old has become the club’s third manager of the season after Claudio Ranieri followed Slavisa Jokanovic in being sacked this term.

It was hoped some of the Italian tactician’s magic that led to Leicester’s amazing Premier League triumph would rub off, but there was no improvement from the previous regime and the veteran departed earlier this week.

Fulham, who are 11/2 to give Parker a winning start, have struggled defensively, conceding 63 top-flight goals. They have scored just 26 and it is clear there is much for the new man to do at both ends of the pitch.

However, there are also problems at Chelsea, who are 1/2 to pick up all three points, with coach Maurizio Sarri seemingly earning a stay of execution after his men beat Tottenham 2-0 last time out.

The Kepa Arrizabalaga Carabao Cup final incident at Wembley has also heaped further pressure on the under-fire coach although a win on Sunday would certainly help matters.

It remains to be seen if he is in charge next season and a top-four finish at 6/5 will be a minimum requirement for the former Napoli chief to survive.

Games between these two clubs are usually feisty affairs and there is more at stake that just local pride this time around.

Fulham need to stabilise and rediscover their identity after a dreadful campaign, which saw the fans turn on the amiable Ranieri before he was jettisoned.

Defeat would not be a disaster for the home side as relegation seems almost inevitable, but Parker needs to see fight in his players and a determination not to throw in the towel when they are up against it.

The former Tottenham midfielder has hinted he wants to move into management after cutting his teeth as a first-team coach and the rest of the season in the Fulham dugout would certainly be an audition for the permanent job.

They may be heavily beaten – Chelsea to win 3-0 is priced at 11/1 – but a positive reaction is what the long-suffering Cottagers fans crave.