Fulham have rebuffed interest from local rivals Queens Park Rangers in defenders Alfie Mawson and Michael Hector.

Rangers boss Mark Warburton has made recruiting an experienced centre back has top priority during the January transfer window. The R’s thought they had struck a deal to sign Bournemouth defender Steve Cook but were pipped to the post by Nottingham Forest earlier this week. The former Brentford manager has long admired both Mawson and Hector, but Fulham dismissed enquiries from QPR about the availability of both players – according to West London Sport.

Marco Silva wants to keep both of his back up centre backs at Craven Cottage during January given Fulham’s fixture pile up caused by a succession of coronavirus-related postponements. Mawson, a big money signing from Swansea in 2018, has made just eight appearances this season whilst Hector has featured only five times for the first time this term, but both will remain with the Whites in case of any issues with first choice defensive pairing Tim Ream and Tosin Adarabioyo.

Rangers have been tipped to turn their attention to Birmingham centre back Harlee Dean, who worked with Warburton during his time in charge of Brentford.