Silva would like Mawson and Hector to stay at Fulham

Fulham boss Marco Silva has reiterated his desire for the club to keep Alfie Mawson and Michael Hector at the club despite the pair’s lack of game time this season.

Mawson, who joined the Whites from Swansea in a £6m deal in 2018, is out of contract in June.

He has been in discussions this week about a possible move to Birmingham, having made just six appearances and two starts under Silva. He spent last season on loan at Bristol City.

The 27-year-old former Brentford defender has endured a torrid time with injuries at Craven Cottage and played just 52 games for the club – and has not been included in a matchday squad since November.

Hector helped Fulham win promotion in 2020 but has barely featured for the past 18 months, with former boss Scott Parker overlooking him last season and Silva doing the same as the Whites have stormed to the top of the table.

The 29-year-old played in the recent FA Cup tie at Bristol City but has only made three Championship appearances, and like Mawson is desperate to kick-start his career.

Hector’s deal also expires at the end of the season but Fulham do hold the option of extending it for another year.

Promotion-chasing QPR want to sign a centre-back this month and would like to snap up Hector or the Hillingdon-born Mawson, but Fulham indicated they would not be open to a deal for either.

Birmingham, 18th in the Championship, are now looking to sign Mawson – a move which could pave the way for Harlee Dean to leave St Andrew’s.

Dean, who played under QPR manager Mark Warburton at Brentford, has been identified as a possible signing by Rangers in light of Fulham’s reluctance to give them Hector or Mawson.

Silva would prefer to offload the injury-plagued Terence Kongolo and keep Mawson and Hector as back-ups to regular starters Tosin and Tim Ream.

“Alfie is our player, we will keep him I hope,” Silva said.

“We have four central defenders plus Kongolo, who we are trying to find a solution for him to go out on loan.

“I you ask me if Alfie and Hector want to play more, I will say ‘Of course’, but football is like that.

“But the others are having a very good season and they will have to keep fighting to get the shirt.

“They always show full support to everything and when I talk to them they understand the situation.

“But they are not the happiest guys in the world because they want to play football. But they have been professional which is what I expect and demand.

“Hector, Alfie and Josh (Onomah) all want more minutes and they are working hard, but the other players are playing really hard as well.

“But they all know my opinion and I want to keep them.”