Roy Hodgson has declared his determination to take Fulham as far as he can in the Carling Cup, a competition he says has an important place in the footballing calendar and which offers clubs of their size a realistic chance of silverware.

The Fulham boss says it's a competition they are taking very seriously at Craven Cottage. Proof came with the teamsheet for Wednesday's second round clash with Leicester which showed only one change from the starting eleven which had recorded a surprise victory over Arsenal four days before.

Even so Fulham faced an almighty struggle with their League 1 opponents, only scraping through with two goals in the last ten minutes. Afterwards Hodgson hailed the Carling Cup as a competition of great prestige and importance.

"It has the stature and quality to ensure it remains a valuable part of the calendar," said Hodgson. "We saw it last year with the final between Chelsea and Tottenham. I was there and it was a very exciting game. It's a very important competition per se and while it might be different for those clubs who are already in Europe or those who are looking to get into Europe through a high league position, we will always try to field our best team."

The fact that Fulham are without a fixture for a 17-day period - this weekend's scheduled Premier League match has been postponed because Manchester United are involved in the Uefa Super Cup with the international break following on - was another factor in his team selection. But Hodgson insists that at no stage will they approach a Carling Cup tie at anything less than full throttle.

"We have to take it seriously because the Carling Cup gives us the opportunity to do something and maybe get closer to winning a major trophy or maybe making a little bit of money for the club by staying in the competition a bit longer. We badly wanted to win this game tonight."

That shone through as Jimmy Bullard and Danny Murphy struck late to steer the Londoners into the third round. Fulham had taken a first-half lead but were then reminded of how vulnerable they have been to cup upsets in the recent past as Paul Dickov and Andy King put Leicester ahead in a three-minute spell at the start of the second half.

The performance augurs well for new manager Nigel Pearson's hopes of masterminding an immediate return to the Championship for the Midlands club. They deserved more from a spirited performance as Hodgson readily acknowledged.

"Leicester worked very hard and were highly motivated," he added. "They deserved to be leading 2-1 and after that they played really good football. I can't praise them enough for the way they approached the game."

The draw for the Third Round of the Carling Cup takes place on Saturday, from 12pm on Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday.