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Hughes hangs on to Duff -- and his job

It says much for the aspirations of Fulham that a recent approach for winger Damien Duff was rejected out of sight. Mark Hughes, once Blackburn manager, said a call from his former club asking about his winger was not even returned.

Steve Kean, now in charge at Ewood Park and formerly the Fulham assistant manager under Chris Coleman, wants Duff back at the club where he spent seven seasons.

"They were trying to get in touch with me two or three weeks ago to see if there was any possibility," said Hughes, "but I didn't take the call. That was my answer."

Less than a month ago, the axe hovered over Hughes. Following the St Stephen's Day defeat by West Ham, he needed a win from the next three games to secure his job. Fulham responded with a victory away to Stoke in their next game. They now have 10 points from a possible 15, thanks to a second victory over Stoke at the weekend.

The coming week will confirm where they sit in the scheme of things. On Wednesday they go to Liverpool and on Saturday they play Tottenham in the FA Cup fourth round.

A player almost certain to feature is Steven Sidwell. Rescued from inactivity at Aston Villa, he is set to start at Anfield, given that Dickson Etuhu has damaged a hamstring.

Clint Dempsey was the hero on Saturday. The American now has nine goals this term, with his goal in each half -- the second a penalty after a foul that saw Ryan Shaw-cross sent off -- confirming Dempsey's ability to cover for Bobby Zamora. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent