Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has told defender Ian Pearce that he will be fighting for a first-team spot when he returns from his loan spell at Southampton.

Pearce completed 90 minutes for the Saints in their 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe at Glanford Park last weekend after choosing to go out for a month to improve his fitness.

Hodgson told Fulham’s official website:

“Ian Pearce has done very well and is a player I like very much. When we got an offer that he could go to a good quality Championship side and play for them we thought that was a risk worth taking.

“Whilst he’s there I can’t use him but I think the level of match play he will get there will stand him in very good stead when he comes back. I made it clear to him that I was happy for him to stay but if he thought that this month would push him forward and closer to the first team then I’ll take the risk.”