ALBION were sunk by a member of what could become Fulham’s Fab Four in their most testing pre-season fixture yet.

But it was an absent friend who was on the minds of their fans rather than two-goal Tom Cairney.

A ten-minute double from Cairney was responsible for the latest comeback in fixtures between these two clubs.

His goals early in the second half overturned a 28th-minute advantage given Albion by Pascal Gross’s free-kick.

Cairney could be part of a Fulham attacking quartet also including Ivan Cavaleiro, Aleksandar Mitrovic and, it now appears, Anthony Knockaert.

The Frenchman missed this match with his move from Seagulls to Cottagers nearing completion.

Knockaert scored Albion’s last winning goal more than four months ago, and – as with the sacked Chris Hughton and retiring Bruno – his departure, whether it is the right decision or not, will feel like the end of an era for many fans.

There are a few changes going on this summer.

Anyone reading too much into this first domestic run out for new boss Graham Potter’s senior side is naïve.

But it is hard not to allow emotions run away once the ball starts rolling. Even in a pre-season friendly.

Just ask Fulham’s players, notably Mitrovic, who argued long and hard that Glenn Murray was offside and active when Gross’s opener was allowed to stand.

An almost comical handball just outside the box by Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli allowed the German playmaker to fizz a free-kick in from the left.

Murray and Shane Duffy made near-post runs, the former ducked under the ball and it went through untouched, though the striker and Gross seemed to enjoy a bit of a joke over the ownership of the goal while Fulham argued with the officials.

One change Albion fans want is a more attractive approach from their side and they got it in an encouraging first half.

Dale Stephens and Davy Propper looked to start things moving from deep, right-sided Solly March interchanged positions nicely with Gross, who started just off frontman Murray, and Jurgen Locadia was offered a chance to run on the left.

Cutting inside, Locadia saw a shot pushed wide by Bettinelli in the first minute and then forced a better save after Propper picked him out.

Soon after the goal, Murray headed home following a slick combination between Gross and March, only to see the offside flag go up.

But Fulham boss Scott Parker felt his jaded side got a second wind in the second half and they turned the game around.

Cairney curled a cracker into the top corner on 50 minutes and struck again nine minutes later for what proved to be the winner.

Fulham sub Aboubakar Kamara forced his way past Lewis Dunk and crossed low, Mitrovic saw his shot somehow blocked by Duffy on the line and Cairney put away the rebound.

Jason Steele made three saves as Albion, if not exactly swamped as in the second half at Craven Cottage last season, were certainly second best.

It was a poor second half from the Seagulls. No denying that.

Kamara was a threat. Maybe, as a Fulham right-winger, he felt he needed to remind his boss what he could do.

By contrast, Leandro Trossard only had a couple of fleeting chances to show skills for Albion after going on at the break.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh had even less and Florin Andone offered a reminder of his fiery character as he argued long and hard over a throw-in decision.

No matter. Not from the scoreline anyway.

Albion lost 3-0 to the Cottagers three years ago at the same venue but went on to do the double in the league, twice winning 2-1 having trailed, and win promotion.

Did Saturday tell us that will happen in the coming season? Of course not.

But his absence pretty much confirmed a popular Frenchman, for better or for worse, will not be a part of it next season. Not in Albion colours, anyway.

Fulham: Bettinelli; S.Sessegnon (Christie 82), Mawson, Le Marchand, Bryan (Odoi 82); Johansen (Francois 82), McDonald (Harris 55), Cairney (De La Torre 74); Kebano (Kamara 55), Mitrovic (Fonte 82), Cavaleiro (Ayite 74).

Albion: Ryan (Steele 46); Montoya (A.Davies 87), Duffy (Burn 61), Dunk, Bernardo (Suttner 75); Stephens (Dreyer 86), Propper (Kayal 61); Locadia (Trossard 46), Gross, March (Jahanbakhsh 61); Murray (Andone 61). Referee: Gavin Ward. Attendance: 2,056.