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Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 16:39 UK

Hodgson praises Schwarzer effect

Mark Schwarzer
Schwarzer has played in all of Fulham's games this season

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has heaped praise on keeper Mark Schwarzer hailing him as their signing of the season.

The 36-year-old stopper signed from Middlesbrough last summer and is due to take his place in goal against his former club on Saturday.

Hodgson said: "We didn't buy him of course, he was a free transfer so in that respect he must be the signing of the season.

"He's had an outstanding season and a major contributor to the success."

Fulham have the best defensive record outside the top four having conceded just 28 goals this season.

606: DEBATE

"The stability he has brought to the team is something you can see in the confidence the back four have in him," he added.

"Every team have units and our back four and goalkeeper have been very strong this year; Mark has been a major factor in that."

Meanwhile, Hodgson has given his support to fellow English manager Gareth Southgate despite Boro lying second from bottom in the league.

"I don't think Gareth Southgate should be judged on this season, he should be judged on the excellent job he has done over the years at Middlesbrough," he said.

"I think he is a shining example that we do produce managers in England."



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