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Parker backed to steer Fulham back into Premier League

Chairman Shahid Khan has backed Scott Parker as the man to drive Fulham back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Fulham named former club captain Parker as their new permanent manager, then immediately targeted a top-flight return.

Former England midfielder Parker replaced Claudio Ranieri at the Craven Cottage helm in February but was unable to stop the club’s Premier League relegation.

Now chairman Khan has handed Parker the challenge of dragging Fulham out of the Championship next term as the 38-year-old takes on his first senior managerial role.

“Scott was brave to accept a very difficult challenge in February when appointed as our caretaker manager,” said Fulham chairman Khan.

“Since that time, day by day, whether in training or on match day, we’ve undeniably become a better football club.

“Scott will now have another challenge to face and that is to return Fulham to the Premier League. I fully believe Scott is more than up to the task.

“I appreciate that he’s been clear for many years that his ultimate goal is to excel as a manager, and he will be given every opportunity to succeed at Fulham.

“I also have no doubt that he knows and loves this club every bit as much as our supporters, and that’s an intangible that everyone can welcome.”

Fulham spent more than £100million last summer after winning Premier League promotion via the Championship play-offs.

The raft of new arrivals failed to gel however, and boss Slavisa Jokanovic was sacked in November with former Leicester boss Ranieri drafted in.

Fulham have just seven wins from 37 matches and will play their final Premier League match at home to Newcastle on Sunday.

Parker enjoyed fruitful playing spells with Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham, Tottenham and Fulham, while also winning 18 England caps.

Parker returned to Fulham as first team coach last summer and has now stepped up to his first permanent managerial role.

“I’m delighted to be appointed head coach of Fulham Football Club and I thank the chairman for entrusting me with this responsibility, as well as the support and encouragement that both he and Tony Khan have provided me,” said Parker.

“The players, staff and fans have all been fantastic with me since I took temporary charge.

“We are now all focused on ending this campaign with a positive result on Sunday against Newcastle and look forward to preparations for the new season, which have already begun.”