Fulham utility man Chris Baird wants to stay at Craven Cottage and fight for a place in Martin Jol’s first team, according to the Fulham Chronicle.
The versatile Northern Ireland international had been expected to move on this summer after being left out of the national squad for last month’s friendly by manager Michael O’Neill because he was ‘considering his future’. Baird, a stalwart of the Fulham side that reached the Europa League final in 2010, made just thirteen league starts last season – finding himself behind Zdenek Grygera and Stephen Kelly in the right back role.
Baird, 30, has twelve months to run on his current contract at Fulham and the club have yet to open negotiations over a new deal. He had been linked with a move to West Brom before former Fulham manager Roy Hodgson succeeded Fabio Capello as England manager. But Baird wants to stay in London and prove his worth to Jol.
A source close to the player is quoting as telling the Chronicle: “Chris only has a year left on his contract but is happy at Fulham. He just wants to play football. If the time comes when he’s not involved then he’ll have a chat about his situation.”
Baird overcame a tough start following his move from Southampton to become one of the most popular members of the Fulham squad. He has made nearly 150 appearances for Fulham and will redouble his efforts in pre-season to try and nail down a starting spot.