Mark Hughes wants Mark Schwarzer to stay at Fulham for as long as possible.

The Australian keeper signed a new deal earlier this season that keeps him at Craven Cottage until 2012.

However, the 38-year-old wants to trigger the one-year’s option on his contract.

And boss Hughes has hinted he could extend Schwarzer’s time in SW6.

He said: “If you’ve got an experienced keeper in your midst, I have always felt it is important to keep them there, fit and well, because that experience is difficult to replicate.

“He’s changed the way he approaches his game in terms of preparation. He’s changed his body composition as well.

“He’s got more lean and he works hard on his diet and nutrition and that shows what a very good professional he is.

“He’s trying to lengthen his career because he wants to play as long as he can. He still has ambitions in the game and hopefully he can achieve them.”

The news is a massive blow to number two David Stockdale, who earlier this week vented his frustration at being stuck behind Schwarzer in the Fulham pecking order.