Lewington cools departure talk

Cottagers caretaker says players want to stay

Lewington: Calm on speculation

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Fulham caretaker manager Ray Lewington believes the club's players are not looking to move elsewhere.

Lewington marked his second caretaker spell in charge of the Cottagers with a 5-0 friendly win over Brentford on Wednesday, but has claimed he is not keen on taking the job permanently.

Fulham went on a remarkable run to the Europa League final last season and knocked out some big names along the way.

Since then, former boss Roy Hodgson has left to take the reins at Liverpool, while a number of his old players have been linked with transfers away from West London.

However, Lewington says that while there will be inevitable speculation, he believes no-one wants to leave.

"I don't think the players will be looking elsewhere," said the former Watford manager.

"They're a tight bunch of players and it's all about them now. The manager can push and prod but, at the end of the day, it's the players who go out and play.

"Their achievement last year was fantastic. I think they all appreciate Roy had to move on and we've no problem with that, but they're here, they are all contracted and they have kept the same team spirit.

"We've had no problem in the week or so we've been training. They're geared up for the season and wanting to do as well as they did last year."

Speculation

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and defender Brede Hangeland have both been linked with moves to Arsenal, while West Ham are reportedly interested in left-back Paul Konchesky, as are Birmingham in striker Bobby Zamora.

Meanwhile, Fulham take on Bournemouth in their second pre-season friendly on Saturday, but long-term absentee Andy Johnson will not play as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Lewington added: "He's making good progress. We hope he will be playing in the next few weeks, or getting very close to playing.

"We won't rush him, it's pointless. We'd love AJ to be there at the start of the season, for the first game, and he won't be far away.

"But if it means taking a little bit of time, we will. But we're very pleased with him."