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Reserve stopper vows not to make it easy for Schwarzer to regain spot

Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale has backed manager Mark Hughes and insists his team-mates are fully behind the Welshman.

Stockdale will return to the Fulham team for the match against West Brom after Mark Schwarzer joined up with Australia for the Asian Cup.

The backup 'keeper told the club’s official website: "Everyone outside the club was asking questions at one point, but, as you saw against Stoke and Tottenham, everyone here is behind the manager.

"The lads put in two good performances last week and I think we deserved at least a point out of the game on Saturday against a top four side.

"If you take those performances, we are a top 10 side and we just need to keep believing and we'll be there at the end of the season.

"We're looking to move out of the bottom positions as soon as possible, which I'm certain we will do. It's just a matter of time."

Hughes was full of praise for the 'keeper, who was due to make a shock appearance in the England squad after deputising for Schwarzer at the start of the season before falling to injury.

“Had it not been for his injury, he would probably have made the England squad," Hughes said.

"He made a real impression when he came in and with Mark [Schwarzer] absent we've got to hope he makes a similar impression.

"He's been training well and he has been aware that this period has been coming up, so he's ready for it."

Stockdale, who could be in goal for Fulham for up to four weeks while Schwarzer is away, added: "Mark is an integral part of our team and I'm sure his boots are going to be hard to fill and you know that you've got to be on form.

"Hopefully, I can do more than just fill his boots and try to keep hold of the shirt.

"Before Mark left, I wished him the best of luck and said 'I hope you get to the final', which would mean more games for me!

"To be fair, he is a very patriotic person - we've had many a discussion over the Ashes.

"He wants to play for his country and I want to play for Fulham so it worked out quite well. I won't be letting him back in easy."

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