Despite the increasingly desperate scenario for Fulham, Roy Hodgson remains confident the club can escape relegation and a victory at home to Sunderland on Saturday would be a significant step indeed.

“I am not prepared to say it is over until is,” Hodgson added. “We maintain we still have a good chance, we maintain that we can play well enough to get ourselves out of trouble and Saturday will be a great opportunity to show that.

“We have been written off for quite a long time now. The bookies have made us favourites to go down and the experts, or whatever you like to call them on television, say we are going down and speculate which team will join Fulham and Derby.

“I don’t have to join that group of people – luckily I can maintain that there are enough games and points and if we take enough of those points, we can still survive.

“I am not prepared to throw in any towels until such time as there is no option for me but to do so.”

Roy Hodgson also said that he is unlikely to play Jari Litmanen in Fulham’s fight against relegation as the Finland international is a luxury The Cottagers cannot afford.

The former Ajax, Barcelona and Liverpool forward joined Fulham on a free transfer in January but a succession of fitness problems have prevented him from making his debut for the London side.

Litmanen did appear for the reserves on Monday night in his first game for the club, but Hodgson appears reluctant to indulge in fielding the playmaker as Fulham seek to close the six-point gap that 17th-placed Birmingham currently enjoy.

“I’ve got to be honest – at the moment for all his quality Jari is a luxury we can’t really afford,” said Hodgson. “He is a very specific player, in that he is not a forward and he is not a midfielder.

“That is going to make it difficult for him to make it into the team at the moment because our backs are against the wall.

“We’re scrapping for points and we’ve decided we need a couple of front players up there.

“He’s a very good figure to have around as he’s an inspiration to everybody with his quality, his professionalism and his attitude in training.

“But don’t ask too much of him in these relegation scraps, as he is not a relegation type of player. He’s a quality type of player.”