Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Hughes eyes double over Potters

Mark Hughes

Fulham boss Mark Hughes is looking to do the double over Stoke on Saturday after admitting his side's win at the Britannia in December turned their season around.

Hughes was under intense pressure following a Boxing Day defeat by West Ham which left the Cottagers in the relegation zone. But two Chris Baird goals secured a 2-0 victory over Stoke two days later and with seven points from four games since the West Ham debacle, Craven Cottage is suddenly a happy place to be again.

"The timing of the Stoke game was perfect for us," said Hughes.

"We were disappointed with ourselves and were left shaking our heads after the West Ham game. Having to pick ourselves up and go to Stoke, one of the hardest places to go, and given our record on the road, it was a big ask.

"We had to show courage and determination to get something out of the game and that's what we did. It gave us a real belief in what we are doing and we've kicked on from that.

"It's another challenging game. We need to get points on the board from our home games. We want a run of wins at home now."

Hughes hopes to call a truce with Stoke boss Tony Pulis, who snubbed his handshake after the Britannia clash. Earlier this season Hughes had blanked Pulis following Andy Wilkinson's reckless tackle on Mousa Dembele when the sides met in the Carling Cup.

Hughes hopes his handshake will be accepted this time, saying: "We're two Welshmen, there's no reason why it shouldn't be. I'll always offer my hand, it was blown out of proportion.

"It was just tit for tat. I did a similar thing to Tony because I was a little bit upset with a challenge on one of my players in the League Cup tie.

"It just happened, I was probably a little bit emotional about it and probably showed it in the wrong way and Tony maybe showed his displeasure at being beaten at home in the wrong way. So we need to grow up, probably."

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