Fulham on the verge of midfielder signing

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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 is set to sign for Fulham from Aston Villa in a long-term deal understood to be around £3.5million after passing a medical on Friday afternoon. But Hughes insisted there was no way Damien Duff would be allowed to leave the club in the January transfer window.

"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," said Hughes.

"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 on Saturday 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."

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