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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 2, 2009

Hodgson hopeful key duo with stay at Cottage

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has no intention of selling Jimmy Bullard or Brede Hangeland during the January transfer window - but admits every player has his price.

Bullard's current contract expires in 18 months' time and speculation is rife that he will move on if a new deal cannot be agreed before the end of the month.

Hangeland has impressed at the heart of Fulham's defence since arriving from FC Copenhagen a year ago and Hodgson rates him among the best operators in the Premier League.

Hodgson admits Fulham would have to consider any substantial offer they received for the pair - but the phone has not rung yet and he hopes it stays that way until the window closes on February 2.

"At the moment no-one has made any offers for the players,'' said the Fulham boss.

"It would be foolish to say nothing will happen to Hangeland and Bullard. All I can say is I hope nothing happens with those two. I hope they remain Fulham players.

"We have to study any propositions that come our way because every player has his price at the end of the day and you can't nail people's feet to the floor.

"All clubs have to do that (consider large bids). It is just a question of scale. Manchester United and Liverpool and Chelsea have to be aware there might certain offers they feel they cannot turn down.

"We are not looking for that offer. If it came we would view it on its merit but I am hoping in these times when there aren't so many teams with a lot of money to spend that our players will be left alone.''

Bullard missed Fulham's 2-2 draw with Chelsea after suffering a dead leg and he remains sidelines for tomorrow's FA Cup third round tie at Sheffield Wednesday through illness.

Hodgson is preparing to rotate his squad for the trip north - a clear indication how the FA Cup's prestige has been eroded by the growth of the Premier League.

"The magic of anything tends to dissipate with age, especially when you are working in football. When I was a young boy reading the Charles Buchan football annuals the FA Cup was something spectacular and the thought of playing in an FA Cup final came second only to representing your country,'' said Hodgson.

"What has happened in the Premier League over the last 15 years has, to some extent, taken away a bit of the glamour. Winning the FA Cup is a great thing to do but it doesn't compare with staying in the Premiership.

"It is important, it is a great competition. I am looking forward to tomorrow's game - but I can't sit here and say it has the same glamour as it had when I was a boy.

"We are also aware that our Premiership survival is far from guaranteed. We have to make certain everyone understands that is still the most important thing for this football club,

"We will do the best we can. I will be very disappointed if we lose tomorrow. If we are not capable of going through to the fourth round I will regard that as a failure.

"But if you had to say would you rather have a great FA Cup run or survival in the Premiership, I would choose survival in the Premiership.''

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