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Cottagers boss keen to keep Nevland
Published : 27 Apr 2009 08:15:00
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is keen to hear if Saturday's goal hero Erik Nevland wants to stay at Craven Cottage next season.Substitute Nevland fired the winner as Fulham beat Stoke to move into seventh place in the Premier League.The Norwegian striker, 31, who was pitched into action as a 10th-minute replacement for Bobby Zamora, collected a return pass from Andrew Johnson and fired home from eight yards.The former Manchester United striker has played a minor part in Fulham's successful season as Hodgson put his faith in Johnson and Zamora.Fulham will qualify for next season's Europa League if they can finish in seventh spot but Nevland may opt to move back to former club Viking.Hodgson revealed the Norwegian side are desperate to sign him again but he would like him to stay."He was a player I got to know at Viking," said Hodgson. "He has been a Man Utd youth player. I think he spent some years there but never broke into the first team."He had been at Viking for a few years by the time I got back there, in fact he was in the last year of his contract."The club was very close to relegation when I got there, we were in the bottom two."He did a fantastic job but we could not hang onto him, but I always remembered the job he did for us in those six months."So when I came to Fulham and was desperate to get out of the situation we were in, I always remembered Erik and what had he had done and we were lucky to sign him from Groningen."But Andrew Johnson's arrival has pushed him back because they are similar players."Erik is not that tall and height and strength in this league is becoming reasonably important."If you don't have your fair share of six-footers in the team you suffer from set-plays. I was pleased with him on Saturday, he made the chance and took it himself. He has been an outstanding professional since he's been here."Viking are desperate to get him back and I'd like to keep him of course."That is something we will have to discuss in the coming weeks. I would be interested to hear how he sees things because he has done such a good job for us and I certainly would not want to force a decision on him that he was not happy with."But if he was happy to stay with us we'd be very happy to keep him."While Hodgson ponders Nevland's future, the prospect of European football is also beginning to vex the Fulham boss.While he would embrace their participation in the new Europa League, Hodgson is experienced enough to know that it could lead to false expectations."People get their heads turned by expectation," said Hodgson."When we started this season our goal was to be very consistent and keep our place in the league without the trauma we suffered last year."It would worry me if the expectation started getting too high. There are four teams in this league who don't entertain the thought of relegation but there are 16 where the thought of relegation is never too far from their minds."I would be delighted but we would have to watch out because we would have to be careful to manage the expectations. Suddenly throwing money to make the squad much bigger is something I don't think we can handle, we can handle what we've got."Fulham's bid for Europe has not yet permeated Hodgson's meetings with the club's owner Mohamed Al Fayed."In all the conversations I've had with the owner, we've never mentioned Europe," revealed Hodgson."We talk about improving, we talk better stability and making certain we win as many games as we can but never once has he said he would like to see the team in Europe, but I am sure he would."