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Fulham are closing in a deal to sign Wigan midfielder Jimmy Bullard.

Paul Jewell confirmed that the midfielder, one of the stars of Wigan’s outstanding first season in the top flight, was holding discussions with the London club after Fulham activated a minimum-fee release clause in his contract.

“Jimmy’s down talking to Fulham at the moment. He had a clause in his contract. I’m really disappointed to lose him, but he’s been a fantastic player for us,” said a resigned Jewell. “He’s a great lad but had a clause in his contract that he could go for a certain amount of money. That’s been exercised by Fulham. People will ask us questions about why this clause is in the contract but we didn’t want to put it in. He was out of contract this year and insisted, well his agent said, if he was going to sign a new deal, there had to be a clause in it. So our hands were tied a little bit. I’m very disappointed, he’s been a fantastic player for us and I wish him good luck.”

Coleman spoke of his hope that Fulham could conclude a deal to sign Bullard, who took the eye as Wigan were unfortunate to lose at Craven Cottage earlier this week. “He is a terrific player and hopefully we can come to some sort of agreement,” said Coleman. “I don’t want to come across as too confident and nothing has been agreed as yet.

“I’m one of many who admire Jimmy Bullard. We saw how good he is when Wigan played us on Monday night. He’s a player we like. I’m only mentioning his name because we’ve already talked to Paul. Jimmy is a very good player and I don’t think Wigan want to let him go. If a player wants to leave then it’s difficult to hold on to him, although I’m not saying Jimmy wants to leave.”