Aaron Hughes says that he is ready to fight to reclaim his place in Fulham’s starting XI next season.
The Northern Irishman was a near ever present in the first half of last term but lost his spot to Philippe Senderos at the end of January with the big Swiss defender the preferred centre-back partner to Brede Hangeland.
With the recent arrival of Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Amorebieta on a free transfer, competition for inclusion on Martin Jol’s teamsheet will be even stronger in 2013/14 – but Hughes is up for the challenge.
The 33-year-old told the official website: “It’s frustrating sitting on the bench because as a footballer you want to play. It’s always disappointing to lose your place but it’s just been a case of working hard and hoping an opportunity comes around and that will be the case again in August. I’ll be doing my best in pre-season to make sure I’m in the Manager’s thoughts.”
Hughes played 28 times for Fulham in all competitions last term in a campaign he admits was somewhat mixed.
“It was a strange season in many ways,” he said. “We got off to a great start on the opening day against Norwich City. We put in a tremendous performance, kept a clean sheet and scored five goals. Tottenham Hotspur away was another good one. To go to Spurs and win was an excellent result.
“We played really well at times but then had a couple of patches where we just couldn’t win. It would have been nice to have finished in the top half but it wasn’t to be.
“So the aim for next season will be to try and get back in that top 10. We’ll first look to get to 40 points as we always do and try and push on from there. That’s been the goal for as long as I’ve been here and I’m sure it will be the same next season.”
You can pre-order the home kit and also buy the training kit worn by Aaron here
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