Chris Coleman is today desperately hoping Marseille do not discard on-loan Fulham forward Steve Marlet and force him back upon the Londoners.

Cottagers boss Coleman had the first major test of his fledgling managerial career in August when he had a major fall-out with French International Marlet.

The two were at loggerheads while the striker kept changing his mind about his commitment to the club paying him £40,000 a week.

The saga ended with Marlet moving to the south of France – but he is yet to convince Liverpool’s UEFA Cup opponents Marseille that he is worth keeping.

The French club will decide at the end of the season whether to extend his loan by another 12 months, sign him for an as-yet undisclosed fee or send him back to England.

If they opt for the latter option, Fulham face the prospect of paying his wages until the end of his five-year contract with them in the summer of 2006.

But Coleman snapped: ‘The way he left at the start of the season left a bad taste in my mouth. I haven’t spoken to him or to Marseille and ideally it would be best for everyone involved if he stays there.’