Hughes believes in Murphy

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Mark Hughes believes Danny Murphy can continue delivering for Fulham despite his advancing years.

Former England midfielder Murphy is expected to lead a strong Cottagers team in Tuesday's Carling Cup third-round clash with Stoke.

The 33-year-old heads a queue of Fulham players who are in the last season of their contracts and Hughes has been impressed by his form, saying: "Danny is playing well and is in the team by rights. If he continues the same way there is no reason why we shouldn't look to make sure that he stays as he's very influential both on the pitch and off it."

He added: "Danny is realistic and knows himself that he can sustain his level. From what I have seen, there is no reason why he can't.

"When I arrived here nine or 10 players had one year left on their deals.

"It's a long big list and while we were are working through it, we haven't got quite through everything.

Hughes, who was appointed Fulham manager in late July, is ready to select his strongest available line-up against Stoke as he continues to assess the strength of his side.

"I made the point before and after the last round that we are very early in the season and we don't need to make many changes," he said.

"Physically we recover as well as anybody and we never compromise by playing anybody when they are not fully recovered, so it's not an issue.

"I made the point before and after the last round against Port Vale that we're very early in the season and I don't think you need to make that many changes."

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