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Fulham have reaffirmed their desire to keep playmaker Tom Cairney at Craven Cottage by placing a £20m price tag on the Scottish international, according to the Sunday Mirror.

It was widely rumoured that the Londoners had successfully warded off persistent interest from Championship leaders Newcastle United by quoting a potential fee of that magnitude in December – and the Magpies boss Rafa Benitez was flabbergasted by Fulham’s hefty valuation of their prized asset. Perhaps the Spanish coach would have realised why Slavisa Jokanovic rates the 26 year-old midfielder so highly after he opened the scoring with a 25-yard screamer at St. James’ Park in the Whites’ 3-1 win earlier this month.

The Sunday Mirror reports that Fulham have reiterated that it will take an offer in the region of £20m to even consider the prospect of Cairney, who made his international debut in Scotland’s 1-1 draw with Canada in midweek, leaving Craven Cottage. Head coach Jokanovic, who penned a two-year extension to his Fulham contract last month, has long earmarked Cairney as the key member of his current squad, handing him the captain’s armband on a regular basis this season in the absence of veteran Scott Parker.

Cairney last week told journalists that he felt he was in the form of his life and demonstrated his skills on the highest stage by turning in a man of the match performance after finally being selected for international honours by beleaguered Scottish coach Gordon Strachan. The left-footed midfielder, who has scored nine goals in 42 appearances for Fulham this season, has thrived in a pivotal central role as Fulham’s switch to Jokanovic’s preferred possession-based philosophy has sparked a late surge towards the Championship play-off places.

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Neeksens Kebano says he has adapted to the competitiveness and physicality of the Championship and is ready to help fire Fulham into the play-off picture.

The Congolese winger had a tough start to life at Craven Cottage but has exploded onto the scene after a successful African Cup of Nations competition with his country – seizing his chance to impress head coach Slavisa Jokanovic with a flurry of goals. Kebano told GetWestLondon that he is concentrating on making the most of his opportunity:

I took the time to adapt because I moved from another country, so now I know much more about my team mates and it’s a bit easier to play with them so I was waiting for my chance. Now I have it I try to do my best to bring what I can bring to the squad.

It is always a pleasure to hear praise from the opposition and journalists, but I’m just focused on my goal with the team, we have the same goal and that is the most important thing for me and the team.

Like skipper Tom Cairney, Kebano has recognised that March is a pivotal month in Fulham’s quest to close the gap on the division’s top six. The former Genk winger says the opportunity to take points off some of their closest rivals offers Fulham a real opportunity to stake a claim for the play-offs:

This month is very important because we have a game each three days so it is the best way to win the maximum points. After this month we will know if we are still in the race for the play offs.

Kebano also praised the impact of Fulham’s supporters for steadying the side’s nerves during a tense encounter against Leeds on Tuesday night.

The fans are very important, like against Leeds where we missed some energy they are always there to push us so with their support we know we can be very strong.

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Tweet Neeskens Kebano was delighted to grab another goal as Fulham brushed aside in-form Preston North End yesterday afternoon – but knows that the Whites will need a largely flawless end to the season in order to force their way into the Championship play-offs picture. Kebano fired home his fourth goal in five league appearances to […]

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