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By ESPN Staff

Hodgson vows to battle to keep Hangeland

Roy Hodgson has vowed Fulham will fight "tooth and nail'' to keep Brede Hangeland at Craven Cottage next season.

Arsenal and Liverpool are reported to be interested in the Norway captain whose presence in defence has been key to Fulham's push for Europe.

Hangeland has been offered a new contract - his current deal expires in two years - and has had talks with chief executive Alistair Macintosh.

Should they decide to sell, Fulham will make a substantial profit on a player they signed for £2.5million in January last year.

But Hodgson has no intention of offloading the towering 27-year-old centre-back.

"I'm confident we'll keep him in the sense he's happy here and we're very happy with him,'' said the Fulham boss. "We're showing our respect for him by offering him a new contract.

"I don't know where he is with that but he's in discussions with the chief executive. We're doing everything we can to show how much we appreciate him and how much we want him to stay.

"Of course there are lots of clubs out there. When bigger clubs come in and want to steal your players they put you in a difficult situation.

"But the fact is he's our player and will remain so. We'll fight tooth and nail to keep him.''

Hangeland will anchor the defence once again tomorrow when Fulham host Stoke in the Barclays Premier League with victory improving their chances of qualifying for Europe.

A strong finish to the season could secure a place in the Europa League and Hodgson insists his side would be unaffected by expectation or pressure if they reach the competition.

"If it doesn't work out for us, it doesn't work out,'' he said. "All the time that sensible attitude is prevalent from the public and the press I don't think it's a problem. The game is a bonus.

"But if people say you have to win the UEFA Cup then it becomes different, but I don't think that would happen at Fulham.

"If we did get into the UEFA Cup then the chairman would welcome that, he'd encourage us, but I don't think he'd cry scandal if we got knocked out.''

Fulham could be without Simon Davies for much of their push for Europe with the Wales midfielder suffering from a fractured foot.

Davies will miss tomorrow's clash with Stoke and is waiting for the result of a scan that will determine the extent of the injury.

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