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FOOTBALL: Skipping the deal tales.

Byline: Steve ROYCE

FULHAM skipper Andy Melville admits he cannot sign a new contract until manager Jean Tigana decides on his own future.

Centre-half Melville, 33, has been asking for talks all season because his current deals runs out at the end of the campaign.

It is a difficult situation for the Welsh international, whose career hit a high two weeks ago when he captained his country to a famous 2-1 victory over Italy at the Millennium Stadium.

But there is little chance of a deal being signed until Tigana's future at the club is confirmed.

The Fulham boss is also out of contract next summer and talks with chairman Mohamed Al Fayed are planned in the near future.

"I'm still waiting for talks at the moment," said Melville. "The manager needs to sort himself out first and then we'll go from there."

It is a strange situation for the centre-half, who is captain of club and country but not necessarily guaranteed a place in the starting line-up at Fulham.

He was 'rested' for the recent match against Manchester United and faces a nervous wait to see if he will stay in the side at Southampton today now that Alain Goma is fit to return.

"It's not easy for me," he said. "But it's something you can't do anything about.

"The manager picks the side and you have to take it on the chin and just get on with it. He likes to rotate the squad a little.

"We have to be positive and go to Southampton and win. Last season was difficult for them but they are a good Premiership side now."

Tigana has promised changes after the midweek defeat by West Ham.

Goma and Rufus Brevett will return, while Martin Djetou, now recovered from knee surgery, is expected to make his first start since signing from Parma on loan in July.

CAPTION(S):

WAITING GAME: Andy Melville
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2002
Words:319
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