Fulham's striking history: A look at recent iconic forwards at Craven Cottage

With Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic hitting the headlines after firing loan club Fulham to the Championship play-off places, Dan Long takes a look at the men who've led the line for the Cottagers in the last 10 years...

Brian McBride (Jan '04 - May '08)

Brian McBride celebrates scoring for Fulham
Image: Brian McBride celebrates scoring for Fulham

A fans' favourite right to the end, McBride was already a success across the pond before his move to west London in early 2004. The frontman had enjoyed a seven-year spell at Columbus Crew, amid two end-of-season loan spells in England with both Preston (2000/01) and Everton (2003) and such was his impact, both clubs failed in approaches to extend the American's stay on a more permanent basis.

Introducing himself with a debut winner against Tottenham during the Fulham's temporary spell at Loftus Road, McBride boasted a tendency to pop up with important strikes and, despite never being prolific in front of goal, his work-rate, battling nature and sheer dedication to the cause won the fans' hearts.

His influence grew each year and Lawrie Sanchez bestowed the captaincy upon him in the summer of 2007, but the honour proved to be a curse for both the striker and his team-mates. A dislocated kneecap on the opening day of 2007/08 ruled him out for the best part of six months in a season where relegation was avoided by goal difference alone.

McBride returned to the MLS for a final hurrah in the summer of 2008 and became a key figure for Chicago Fire as the Men in Red reached successive Eastern Conference finals in 2008 and 2009. At the conclusion of his contract at Toyota Park, the striker - by this point the fifth highest scorer for the USA national team with 30 goals - retired from the professional game. And following an audacious FA Cup campaign with Wembley FC alongside former professionals, including Ray Parlour and David Seaman, McBride hung his boots up for the final time.

Fulham career: 153 apps, 40 goals

Bobby Zamora (Jul '08 - Jan '12)

Image: Bobby Zamora will be remembered for his heroics in Fulham's run to the 2010 Europa League final

Already an established Premier League striker when he arrived from West Ham, Zamora is perhaps best-loved as one of the most prominent figures from the season Roy Hodgson guided the Cottagers to the 2010 Europa League final.

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Four league goals in 2008/09 - his maiden campaign in white - did little to capture the imagination, but when Fulham achieved their highest-ever league finish of 7th, European qualification was secured for the following season. It was a first entry into a European competition for seven years and from the start, the odds were stacked against Zamora and Co. But 18 games after their third qualifying round victory over Vetra - a run in which the Barking-born striker netted eight times - the Whites found themselves lining up against Atletico Madrid in the finale.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Norwich and Fulham

Diego Forlan ultimately broke Fulham hearts, scoring twice in a 2-1 extra-time victory, but the season went down in Fulham folklore and his record of 19 goals that season earned Zamora two caps for England under Fabio Capello.

Not only that, but in September 2010 the forward's form was rewarded with a four-year contract, though a broken leg the following day marked an undeserved end to one of the most fruitful periods of his career. He was snapped up by neighbours QPR in January 2012, scored four goals as they returned to the Premier League two years later and retired after a fairytale return to Brighton in 2015/16.

Fulham career: 135 apps, 37 goals

Dimitar Berbatov (Aug '12 - Jan '14)

Image: Berbatov joined Fulham in a cut-price £4m deal

It was something of a coup for the Whites when they managed to attract the Bulgarian to Craven Cottage in the summer of 2012. Just two seasons prior to the move he had scored 20 league goals as Manchester United secured a record 19th Premier League title, but his influence had waned and Wayne Rooney sat atop the pile as the 'star man' once more.

But Sir Alex Ferguson's loss was Martin Jol's gain, initially anyway. Berbatov moved south in a cut-price £4m deal and led by example with a 15-goal haul in his first season - 27.8 per cent of the team's total goals - as Jol guided his side to a comfortable 12th-place finish. In the process, he became the first Fulham player to score in four consecutive games since Steed Malbranque in 2003 and despite approaching his mid-30s, the future looked encouraging.

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The signs eventually proved misleading and his typically straight-faced demeanour did him no favours as rumours of a desire to leave the Cottage arose. Fulham were prepared to allow him to leave if a suitable offer was received, and when Kostas Mitroglou was signed from Olympiakos on January deadline day, Berba's days in the capital were done - he was released and crossed the channel to join Monaco the very same day.

Upon departing Stade Luis II in 2015, Berbatov joined Greek outfit PAOK and, never one to shy away from controversy, he left Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters early last month, following their failure to qualify for the play-offs, laying into head coach David James' lack of tactical nous on social media as he returned home.

Fulham career: 54 apps, 20 goals

Ross McCormack (July '14 - August '16)

Ross McCormack celebrates scoring for Fulham
Image: Ross McCormack departed Craven Cottage in the summer of 2016

Every so often in a team struggling for form you'll find a striker bucking the trend and just about managing to keep his side afloat. Take Lewis Grabban for Sunderland earlier this season, for example. For Fulham, that man was McCormack.

It was the exemplary goalscoring pedigree that generated high excitement levels when Felix Magath persuaded the Scottish frontman to leave Cardiff and head to the English capital. Though the German coach's tenure ended just weeks into the 2014/15 season, McCormack became the keystone in Fulham's first season outside the Premier League since 2001.

Criticised for poor fitness levels after making his debut against Ipswich, his goals came at intermittent intervals as the Cottagers struggled with the rigours of the second tier, but ended the campaign with seven in seven games, and 19 overall, as his team finished in 17th. He followed that up with an unprecedented 23 goals in 2015/16 as Slavisa Jokanovic's squad avoided relegation to League One by just two places.

With nine assists in his second season, McCormack added a second player of the season award to the one he achieved in 2015, but soon after, his time in the capital came to an end, departing Craven Cottage in August 2016 when he joined Aston Villa in a reported £12m deal.

His progress has halted since, however. Cast aside by Steve Bruce in early 2017 due to a persistent lateness, further claims of a lack of fitness and that infamous gate, a loan to Nottingham Forest failed to aid the rectification of his personal issues. His prowess seemed to return in a temporary spell with Australian outfit Melbourne City, where he scored 14 goals in just 16 A-League games, but that seems to have done little to convince the Villa Park hierarchy his future lies in the Midlands.

Fulham career: 100 apps, 42 goals

Don't miss Fulham's Sky Bet Championship clash with Leeds on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30pm.

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