Berbatov expected to stay

Rene Meulensteen believes the transfer window will hot up in the coming days but expects Dimitar Berbatov to stay at Fulham.

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Dimitar Berbatov: Linked with January mo

Dimitar Berbatov: Linked with January mo

Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen believes the transfer window will hot up in the coming days but expects Dimitar Berbatov to remain at Craven Cottage.

Although a number of big-money deals have already gone through involving English clubs, plenty more activity is likely as Friday's deadline approaches.

Meulensteen has been less busy than some of his counterparts, drafting in Clint Dempsey on a short-term loan from Seattle Sounders and sanctioning the departure of Bryan Ruiz until the end of the season.

He was cagey when asked about his plans following Sunday's 1-1 FA Cup fourth-round draw at Sheffield United, but hinted that business may be easier to do at the 11th hour.

"We will wait and see," he said.

"People always say the transfer market is a month but it's not a month, it's a week and then 24 hours.

"That's what it comes down to."

Meulensteen has been linked with reinforcements up front, particularly if the enigmatic Berbatov departs.

The Bulgarian's agent suggested earlier this month he was unhappy at the club and keen to move on, but Meulensteen sees no change in his current position.

"We're not (looking for a striker) at the moment," he said.

"We've got Darren Bent, Hugo Rodallega and Berbatov. I expect Berbatov to stay because there has been no interest so far."

Fulham must shore up their defence to climb the Premier League table, according to Meulensteen.

"We need to steady the ship defensively, we need to tighten it up and the fact that Brede (Hangeland) has come back has been a big boost for us and Dan Burn has been doing tremendously well," the Dutchman added.

"We still need to get more clean sheets. That has not changed."

The Cottagers' focus returns to the battle for Premier League survival on Tuesday night at Swansea, who Meulensteen's men would overtake with victory.

He added: "We know it's a massively important game for us. If we could pick up three points it would be very, very big for us."

Swansea have slipped down the table and are winless in eight games, with their slump coming as a surprise to the Fulham boss.

He said: "Over the years I have had a lot of respect for Swansea, for the way they have established themselves in the Premier League after coming up through the leagues.

"They have changed managers but they have kept a similar style of play. That style of play resulted in a trophy last year, getting into Europe but now you start to see a little bit of the price they have to pay for it.

"Maybe injuries have played a part. Suddenly the results that were normally going for you last year are going against you and that is why they find themselves in the position they are in."

The Sheffield United replay comes a week after the Swansea clash and following a contest with Southampton.

Blades boss Nigel Clough recognises the rematch will be even tougher than the original tie.

Clough congratulated his group for the draw, but knows he will not be able to keep them fresh for the replay.

"They made 11 changes to face us and most of the lads who played for Fulham here probably won't play a competitive game for the next 10 days," Clough said.

"We've got Peterborough and Crewe to play before we go to Craven Cottage and we don't have the luxury of being able to make 11 changes for those games."


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