SLAVISA JOKANOVIC has already made up his mind that he would like Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic at Fulham beyond this season – he just needs to deliver promotion first.

Mitrovic has scored two goals in five appearances since his loan switch to Craven Cottage, when the lure of playing for fellow Serbian Jokanovic outweighed the prospect of heading to Middlesbrough.

The 23-year-old was viewed as the ideal target-man to spearhead Fulham’s promotion charge in the final few months of the campaign, and he has helped establish the Cottagers in the play-off places.

Fulham are now five points clear of seventh and have been installed as favourites to go up via the end of season shoot-out after a run of 12 league matches without defeat; winning nine of those since the defeat at Sunderland on December 16.

And Jokanovic would love to keep Mitrovic beyond this season’s loan, even if he knows to stand a chance of keeping him the likelihood is that he will need to make sure Premier League football is secured - so he has more cash to spend.

Anderlecht have already hinted this week that they would still like to have him back in Belgium, where he was lured to Tyneside a couple of years ago for £14m.

He is also the sort of striker that fits the mould wanted by Tony Pulis at Middlesbrough, although he might have burned his bridges in terms of that move. There are also top tier clubs in France, Turkey and Greece keen.

Mitrovic will be keeping his options open until the end of the campaign, knowing Newcastle will still be looking for a fee for him with another two years to run on his deal at St James’ Park.

“Of course I wish Newcastle all the best, I hope they will stay in the league, they deserve it because they have a good team, good fans and a good manager," Mitrovic said.

“I hope they will stay in the league and in the summer we will see what happens but I’m happy here, focused here and looking forward to playing every game. My only target is to help Fulham to get promoted.”

Rafa Benitez made up his mind he no longer wanted to call on him, after 18 months of Mitrovic struggling to convince his manager that he deserved to start matches. After returning to the Premier League he barely figured for the Magpies.

Newcastle will head to Liverpool this Saturday still short of attacking options. The man who replaced Mitrovic in the squad, Islam Slimani, is not expected to return to action until the back end of March.

Dwight Gayle has been struggling with a hamstring niggle since Saturday’s draw at Bournemouth, while Joselu is Benitez’s alternative option ahead of the trip to Liverpool.

Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is also looking to shrug off a knee problem in time to face his former club, although the fact he requires a scan suggests that an appearance at Anfield would seem unlikely.

But Shelvey, speaking in an interview with Premier League Productions, said: “You always want to go back to a former club and win and do well, for obvious reasons.

“It is an added incentive but at the end of the day you have to also just see it as another game, as you don’t want the occasion to get to you.

“We picked up a good result when Liverpool came up earlier in the season but they are a fantastic team, with a fantastic manager, fantastic supporters, fantastic stadium … everything about that club if fantastic.

“So it is going to be a tough place to go and play football - but it will be nice to go back there now the stadium is finished.

“Liverpool have got Champions League a few days later are through already (after winning 5-0 in Porto), so they might play a strong team (against Newcastle).”