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Chris Coleman watched Louis Saha fire Fulham into the fourth round of the FA Cup and said: “It would be suicide to sell him”.

The in-form French marksman took his tally for the season to 14 with a goal in each half – the second arriving in injury time – as Fulham came from behind to avoid a monumental upset at the hands of Cheltenham.

Coleman repeated that his prized asset will not be off-loaded in the January sales, although he suggested the situation could change come the end of the season.

The Welshman said: “The speculation is not going to go away – I understand that. From our point of view, if we sell Louis Saha at any price in January then I’m cutting my own throat. I’ve explained that to my chairman and he is under the same impression.

“I’m under no illusions – he may not be here next season. He’s banging in goals left, right and centre so if a club does come in for him with a massive offer over the summer then he may be moving on. But we’d be committing suicide if we sold him right now.”

It was a less than convincing performance from the Barclaycard Premiership’s fifth-placed team and Coleman was unhappy with what he had seen, declaring that Cheltenham could consider themselves unfortunate to be on the losing side.

He continued: “We were lucky to come away with the win – the only positive that we can take from today is the result. It was a poor performance from us. I feel sorry for Cheltenham and their manager John Ward.

“We’re better than we showed today. But we have to give Cheltenham some credit. They made it very difficult for us and were hungrier.