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Liverpool target Clint Dempsey not for sale insist Fulham

Fulham manager Mark Hughes is adamant top scorer Clint Dempsey will not be leaving the club in the January transfer window.

Dempsey has been linked with a £10million move to Liverpool, where he would be reunited with former Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson.

Wolfsburg manager Steve McClaren is also reported to be interested in the United States international.

However, Hughes has promised a blunt response if any enquiries are made.

"I'm sure there is interest in Clint. Most good players are mentioned at some point in time leading into a window," said the Fulham boss.

"There's been no contact from any clubs for Clint or any other player.

"Nor would we encourage it because Clint's very happy here, is enjoying his football and is having an impact for us.

"If there any enquires about Clint, they'll be getting short shrift."

Dempsey will be involved in tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash with Sunderland - a match Fulham must win if they are to begin climbing the table.

They are currently perched one place above the relegation zone and have not won in the league since October - a run spanning six games.

Hughes, however, has taken comfort in his side's performances.

"We've been competitive in every game we've played except the first 45 minutes against Manchester City," he said.

"We're not a million miles away from where we need to be - it's just that we must convert draws into wins and make sure our home form is good.

"We don't feel that it will be a struggle this season. We'd be more concerned if we weren't playing well.

"We proved last weekend against the team that's currently at the top of the league (Arsenal) that we can compete very well.

"But we must convert chances when they arise and capitalise when we're dominant in games.

"At home we've been unable to unlock the door that will enable us to win games, but perhaps that's a consequence of the attacking players we are missing.

"We're surprised at where we are because we feel we're better than our position illustrates.

"There's some sense of frustration because we've been playing good football and haven't had the reward that we felt we deserved.

"But the league is very close so a couple of wins will shoot us up the table very quickly.

"We're confident we'll get back to winning ways. We have the capacity to do that."

Mexico left-back Carlos Salcido returns tomorrow after recovering from an ankle injury but Mousa Dembele is still out with a similar problem.