Mark Hughes hopes the offer of a new contract may convince Mark Schwarzer to stay at Fulham when the transfer window reopens.

The Cottagers fended off strong interest from Arsenal for their veteran Australian keeper, rejecting a £4million offer for a player who is in the final year of his contract.

They are braced for another battle to keep Schwarzer, who will be 38 next month, in January but Hughes is determined to keep a crucial cog in the team’s success.

“If we could tie Mark down to a longer contract that would be the ideal for me,” he said.

“It might not be an option open to us as he is well within his rights to look at his options in January.

“I want him to stay and would be more comfortable and think that I have a chance of winning if Mark was playing.

“We hope that he will stay until the end of the season.

“We weren’t receptive to any bids for Mark in August as we were not prepared to take money for him – he’s too important for us.

“In January that will still be the situation as we’d rather he’s still here helping us win Premier League games.

“His immediate future is here. We’re pleased with that and will look to January when we have to.

“We are hopeful that we can show him what we want to do and where we want to go.

“I have made it known to him that I want him to be part of that.”

Schwarzer was well received by Fulham fans before Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Wolves, despite the fact he was very keen to join Arsenal.

“Mark has made a real mark here and the reception showed the respect for him,” said Hughes.

“He’s made a real impact at the club and been a part of the whole success here, so that respect was due and was given, which was really good for him.”

Hughes was never concerned that Schwarzer would become troublesome after his dream move to Emirates Stadium failed to materialise.

“Mark’s a good professional. I knew there wouldn’t be any difference in his daily work or the way he approaches games, so it wasn’t a worry for me,” he said.

“In football you get disappointments more than good times, so that’s the norm.

“He’s got over the initial disappointment so he’s getting on with it now.’

Hughes takes his side to Blackburn on Saturday, returning to the club he managed for four years until 2008.

“Blackburn is still a great club and has great people,” he said.

“I saw comparisons of the quality of people there with the people that I have found at Fulham.

“That’s a big positive thing from my point of view as you’re only as good as the people that surround and support you.

“I was able to be successful at Blackburn as everyone wanted you to do well. I sense that is the same at Fulham.”