Fulham Vs Sunderland, Sat 11 Dec 2010

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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 the 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.

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

Asamoah Gyan and Craig Gordon have been declared as "slight doubts" by Sunderland manager Steve Bruce.

Striker Gyan has a toe injury and goalkeeper Gordon a hamstring problem, although Bruce is hopeful both will figure in the game at Craven Cottage.

Bruce, though, remains without a number of long-term injured, including Titus Bramble, Fraizer Campbell and Michael Turner, all with knee injuries.

Bruce is on a mission to eradicate his side's inconsistency after becoming fed up with them being tagged 'typical Sunderland'.

Black Cats boss Bruce's issues are understandable because despite Sunderland riding high in eighth position in the Barclays Premier League, they are yet to win two successive games this season.

Since a run of five consecutive draws over September and October, the last eight games highlight Sunderland's problem. Their form reads - won, lost, won, drew, won, drew, lost, won.

Another annoying factor for Bruce is that his side have defeated Manchester City and Chelsea, the latter a remarkable 3-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge, and drawn against Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool.

Yet their three defeats this season have been at Wolves and against newly-promoted clubs West Brom and Newcastle, the latter a particularly hurtful 5-1 humiliation at St James' Park.

"I don't think it's complacency. It's the mindset which is the hardest thing to deal with," said Bruce.

"Following the defeat to Wolves (3-2 a fortnight ago), on the TV and in the press it was 'typical Sunderland'.

"That is the one thing I have to eradicate. That is the hardest job on my plate, to take the club forward, to get rid of this 'typical Sunderland' tag where we win one, lose one.

"That is the challenge because to be a top club in this league, if we're going to succeed and go on to where we want to be, we have to eradicate the performances we put in against Wolves and West Brom.

"However, when I analyse the season, and we're halfway through near enough, two-and-a-half poor performances out of 16 is not bad.

"If we can repeat that for the next 16 games and go into spring with maybe 40, 43 points or so, then we'll be very happy.

"It means we'll be competing and likely in a position where we are now. That is the challenge - can we stay where we are? I've always said we want to try and be in the top 10.

"But I don't want this tag of ours any more."

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