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Premier League

Hodgson expects bidding war for Zamora

Roy Hodgson is bracing himself for several bids for in-form striker Bobby Zamora.

Zamora took his tally to 11 for the season on Saturday and has bagged six in his last seven matches.

Hodgson, and strike partner Andy Johnson, have even suggested the 28-year-old could earn a place in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.

The Fulham manager believes the striker's eye for goal and physical presence could make him a target for clubs in this month's January transfer window.

"There are not so many players of Bobby's type playing in the Premier League and there are even fewer English ones playing in the Premier League," said Hodgson.

"We used to produce a lot of big, strong, target-playing type centre-forwards and we were always lamenting the fact that we didn't have the little, quick, tricky ones to play off them.

"Now it seems there is a dearth of target-player types so I wouldn't be at all surprised if we have calls for Bobby."

Hodgson stuck by Zamora after the striker endured a terrible first season at the club in which he scored only four goals.

The former Inter Milan boss has warned any clubs considering a bid for Zamora he will resist any attempt to lure the Londoner away from Craven Cottage.

Hodgson said: "We'll tell those that do bid, hopefully, that he is not for sale and we want to keep him here and we hope he wants to stay with us as well."

Brede Hangeland (knee) is Hodgson's only new fitness concern ahead of tonight's Barclays Premier League clash with Stoke.

Hodgson will welcome back Chris Baird, Damien Duff and captain Danny Murphy, who were all rested for Saturday's FA Cup win over Swindon.

Andy Johnson is expected to join Zamora in attack after he came through the game without suffering any recurrence of the groin injury which had sidelined him since October.

Hodgson is confident Fulham can go from strength to strength now he has his first-choice strike partnership available.

"Bobby and AJ have a good understanding together and AJ gives us that threat in behind," said the 62-year-old.

"Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora are our first-choice strikers. We have others, Zoltan (Gera) has done a great job in there, of course we've got (Erik) Nevland, (Diomansy) Kamara and (Seol) Ki-Hyeon.

"But Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora were the two players who were bought to play in those positions and they are the two players who last season kicked us into seventh place."