Fulham set to win Steve Sidwell chase

Fulham manager Mark Hughes wants Steve Sidwell to rejuvenate his career at Craven Cottage and bring drive to the midfield after apparently capturing him from under the noses of Premier League rivals.

Sidwell was set to sign for Fulham from Aston Villa in a long-term deal understood to be around £3.5million after passing a medical this afternoon as Hughes wound up his attempts to bring reinforcements to west London.

But Hughes insisted there was no way Damien Duff would be allowed to leave the club in the January transfer window.

Sidwell, 28, who has played only four matches for Villa this season, had been tracked by Wolves and West Ham. He even underwent a medical at Upton Park, but his family live in south-west London and Hughes appears to have been most persuasive.

Hughes said: "We are just waiting for a little bit of documentation. He has passed his medical, no problems there. It's just ticking all the boxes really.

"He is a player I have admired for some time. We moved quickly when we felt there was a possibility that we might lose Steve.

"This was his first choice. He is a young man who wants to get back on track, start playing football again. He has a good reputation in the game, well admired, a box-to-box player who can get you a goal. He'll be fine for us.

"His family are based around here but it is not a lifestyle choice. He wants to be part of what we are doing here. He wants to get his career back on track."

There is no chance of Sidwell playing in the FA Cup against League One side Peterborough tomorrow but Duff is likely to be in the side and Hughes issued a hands-off warning to clubs such as Blackburn who have shown interest.

"He's not available," Hughes said. "He's very much part of what we are doing. Allowing a player of the quality of Damien Duff to leave would be bad management. I'm not about to do that."

Instead Hughes, with Bobby Zamora a long-term casualty, Andrew Johnson suffering with a hamstring tear and Moussa Dembele doubtful for tomorrow's game, will step up his search for a striker.

He admits to being an admirer of Tottenham's David Bentley, who he worked with at Blackburn, but believes the transfer fee would rule Fulham out. Ditto Robbie Keane.

But he said: "We are still looking. We're a bit light (on strikers) and we have to address that."

Hughes also spared a thought for such as Liverpool's Roy Hodgson and West Ham's Avram Grant, whose have come under intense pressure recently.

He said: "Every manager at Premier League level is a guy who works his socks off and thinks about the job 24/7.

"It's not nice when criticism comes your way. You have to stick to your philosophy and what you know works and that comes from experience.

"I've been through the situations the managers at the moment are experiencing. You have to be strong and stick to what you know.

"But it's a fantastic job and a Premier League manager is in a very fortunate and coveted position. We're working in the league that is the best in world football.

"Few people get the opportunity. It's a privileged position and I think every manager is grateful to ply their trade at this level."

Hughes also suggested those who want to change the format of the FA Cup, such as abolishing replays, should leave well alone.

"I am averse to changing the FA Cup," he said. "It's been a big part of my career.

"It is arguably the best domestic cup competition in world football and a it is revered around the world. Why change it?"

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most