Hughes hints at Schwarzer stay

The Cottagers number one, who has been nursing a back injury, has
been the subject of Arsenal’s attention this summer, but two
£2million bids from the Gunners have already been rejected.
David Stockdale has impressed in place of Schwarzer between the
sticks in Fulham’s two opening Premier League games, keeping a
clean sheet at Bolton in their curtain-raiser before frustrating
Manchester United in a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage on Sunday. But
while pleased with the younger shot-stopper’s display, Hughes is
adamant the 37-year-old Australia international’s move to Arsenal
is not set in stone. “It’s not a foregone conclusion that Mark will
leave,” Hughes told the Guardian. “We’re all aware of Arsenal’s
interest. It’s not a surprise because he’s an outstanding
goalkeeper and they obviously feel they have an issue with their
own goalkeeper.” Stockdale, making only his third start in the top
flight, produced a solid performance against United, saving a Nani
penalty three minutes from time which paved the way for Brede
Hangeland’s late strike following his earlier own goal. But despite
the 25-year-old former Darlington player’s strong start to the
campaign, Hughes admits he is seeking the security of a more
experienced shot-stopper. “Stockdale has done very well and is a
good young keeper,” added Hughes. “We’ve been impressed with what
we’ve seen since we’ve been here, and he’s arguably been the star
man in both games. “He’s been outstanding and, had this game gone
to 3-1, it would have been United’s. “We’re pleased with what he’s
producing at the moment but it’s always difficult for young
keepers. They get by initially on adrenalin and enthusiasm, but can
they keep it up over time? It’s a long season and you’ve got to be
careful with them.” Stockdale, meanwhile, is refusing to get
carried away following his good work so far this season. “That’s
another showing I can go to the manager with and say: ‘There you
go. That’s what I can do,'” said Stockdale. “I was just trying to
get the lads out of the deep muck. It’s hard enough trying to
dislodge Mark Schwarzer at the best of times but I’ll just take it
day by day now and see what happens.”