PHIL Parkinson is looking to Sammy Ameobi to take control of the spotlight against Fulham.

Moved front and centre against Bristol City after spending most of the season on the wing, the former Newcastle United striker thrilled Wanderers’ fans with a virtuoso display against Bristol City last time out.

And though the focus tomorrow may be on Fulham’s exciting youngster Ryan Sessegnon, who has six goals in his last six games, Parkinson has backed his man to continue his rich vein of form.

“Sessegnon is a great talent,” said the Bolton boss. “But I have to say, I think Sammy did great against him down at Craven Cottage. He rose to the challenge playing against a player the country has been talking about.

“Sammy wants to make sure they are talking about him after the game – as they did on Friday night against Bristol City.

“I think he has improved such a lot, physically. We brought him off in that game because he was shattered, he’d physically cramped up. But we look at him now and did some physical work ahead of the Bristol game and he was right at the front of it.

“I think he’s in the best shape of his career, and I think you could ask him that, and the goal typified that.”

Wanderers led 1-0 against Fulham until a Tom Cairney goal deep into stoppage time salvaged a point for the Londoners and ensured the wait for a league win at Craven Cottage stretched to a 26th year.

It had been tough luck for Parkinson’s men, who had defended doggedly and had chances to put the result way beyond doubt.

Parkinson reviewed the game this week and feels his side can learn a lesson.

“We were delighted with the way the lads set about their business down there,” he said. “The key was we couldn’t get the second goal.

“I watched the game the other day and Adam Armstrong had about three chances. We’d said at half time ‘go on, get that goal, you can kill the game off.’

“Fulham have got that ability to wear you down, pass you out of the game, and they got the equaliser in the end. But it was a very good away performance.”

Much has been made of Parkinson’s potential tactical re-shuffle in the light of Gary Madine’s departure, but the manager believes his squad can cope with a slight shift in the style of play.

Backing midfielders like Josh Vela, Karl Henry and Derik Osede to identify the different demands of a new-look attack, the Whites boss is confident there is enough intelligence in the middle of the park to match Fulham.

“We have got some good technical players but like I have said many times, football is about playing the way which suits the players available to you,” he said.

“If you have got Gary Madine then he needs balls dropped into his chest, because he is a great platform to play off. If you don’t do that, you might as well not have him in the team.

“I always think the midfield players have to take that by the scruff of the neck and look at the players ahead of them. They need to ask what are their strengths?

“If you can identify who is playing with you and supply the kind of passes which will benefit them then there’s a good chance they will play well.

“We know Fulham’s two centre-backs are going to see a lot of the ball. We’ll have to be patient, but equally the other night we got more belief and calmness when we got hold of the ball. That was good to see.

“Fulham are a team which can leave itself exposed. When you win back possession you have to have that degree of calmness to get that first pass off.

“If you can, then we have got players who will cause them problems.”

Wanderers shifted back to a three-man defence against Bristol City and look set to stick with the same system tomorrow. But Parkinson says there will be an element of flexibility between now and the end of the campaign.

“Realistically we won’t be playing three or four at the back for the rest of the season, it’ll be a case of looking at the opposition,” he said. “We did that last year. Fulham will play in a similar way to Bristol City, maybe over-play a bit more around the penalty box, but they are a team we have to respect. Football’s about trying to get the balance so you feel secure but also that your opposition has something to worry about.”