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Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Hodgson insists his players are up for the fight

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson insists he players are in positive mood as the club's fight against relegation from the Premier League continues.

Fulham, who are five points adrift of safety, travel to Bolton tonight looking to record their first win since November.

But despite their poor record of late, Hodgson insists his team are focused on improving their plight and are in good spirits.

'The morale about the place does not seem too bad,' said Hodgson. 'I don't come into work seeing miserable faces and people who are not energetic about their job.

'But, at the top level of any sport, results are everything. For the players to get the best out of themselves, they need the knives removed from their throats.

'But you cannot remove those knives until they get the results. It is all too simple to say that one result will change the situation because I cannot guarantee it.

'Each one of these 15 games left has enormous significance for us. Week for week, I think we are taking steps forward but until we get those points, I cannot prove it.'

Fulham expect to take a healthy following to Bolton and Hodgson is grateful for the supporters' patience during their relegation battle.

He added: 'The support from the fans is very important and it has also been good so far. We are getting the sort of support we would expect, maybe even more because we are at the bottom of the table.

'I can only hope the supporters have empathy with our plight and share our concerns but also give credit when it is due.'

Hodgson has revealed the club are close to signing Norway striker Erik Nevland.

The 30-year-old forward underwent a medical at the club's training ground in Motspur Park yesterday after the Cottagers agreed a deal with Nevland's club FC Groningen.

Fulham had a 1.85million bid accepted for Nevland and the Dutch club will receive a further 370,000 if they retain their Premier League status this season.

'As I understand it, the two clubs have agreed a fee and I hope there will be another striker on our books before we play Aston Villa at the weekend,' Hodgson said.

'He is a very good player who was available down to some skilful negotiations between our club and the player's agent.

'It was not easy to get a player who is the captain of their team. Fortunately, the Premier League, Fulham Football Club and me being here was an attraction to him and we have been lucky enough to get him.

'He is a good player and will be up for the fight. He has a big heart and prepared to work very hard. He is the ideal signing for the situation we find ourselves in.'

Groningen director Hans Nijland told the club's official website: 'Everyone at the club is happy for Erik to make this step in the autumn of his career.

'He is 31 this year and has received a lucrative offer to play for at least six months in one of the biggest leagues in Europe.'

Nijland revealed the deal appeared to be off before Fulham made contact again over the weekend.

'Initially the difference between our valuation and theirs was too great and the matter seemed closed,' he added. 'But last weekend Fulham got in touch again and that led to an agreement.'




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