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Jol delighted with Fulham's versatile Baird

Chris Baird has been asked to form a new identity in Fulham's midfield following some key summer departures.

With Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele both leaving Craven Cottage for Tottenham prior to the start of the season, manager Martin Jol was looking for someone to throw into the centre of the pitch and is happy that the defensive-minded Baird has been able to do a job thus far.

"This is a new role for Chris," Jol told reporters in the wake of Baird's match-winning goal against Aston Villa on Saturday.

"I explained to him that we needed a new identity in midfield and that he could help. He certainly did that.

"He is a good football player and had a good education at Southampton. Last year he played right-back and centre-back and I'm very pleased that he's so versatile and that he could do that job for us.

"He's important to us. He's getting fitter and fitter. He is playing for the (Northern Ireland) national team in midfield now too which is good and they got a good result against Portugal.

"He is probably on top of his game and that was exactly what we needed."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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