Fulham manager Mark Hughes is convinced a new deal will help persuade Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to stay at Craven Cottage.
Schwarzer was linked with a £4m move to Arsenal in the summer and Hughes knows that once the transfer window reopens in January, the 38-year-old FIFA World Cup™ keeper will once again be a target.
"If we could tie Mark down to a longer contract that would be the ideal for me," said Hughes. "It might not be an option open to us as he is well within his rights to look at his options in January.
"I want him to stay and would be more comfortable and think that I have a chance of winning if Mark was playing. We hope that he will stay until the end of the season. His immediate future is here. We're pleased with that and will look to January when we have to. We are hopeful that we can show him what we want to do and where we want to go. I have made it known to him that I want him to be part of that."
Schwarzer was well received by Fulham fans before Saturday's 2-1 victory over Wolves. "Mark has made a real mark here and the reception showed the respect for him," said Hughes. "He's made a real impact at the club and been a part of the whole success here, so that respect was due and was given, which was really good for him."
Hughes was never concerned that Schwarzer would become troublesome after his dream move to Emirates Stadium failed to materialise. "Mark's a good professional. I knew there wouldn't be any difference in his daily work or the way he approaches games, so it wasn't a worry for me," he said. "In football you get disappointments more than good times, so that's the norm. He's got over the initial disappointment so he's getting on with it now."