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Aaron Hughes excited by new Hoops chapter

Aaron Hughes has defended his move from Fulham to Queens Park Rangers – insisting his career is not on a downward spiral.

The Northern Ireland international says the switch on transfer deadline day was "too good to be turned down."

The 34-year-old defender has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him in west London until the end of the season after being released by Fulham.

A move to Championship side QPR will be viewed by some as a backward step but the Cookstown man feels it could give him a new lease of life.

"I don't see this as a drop down in class, I see it as a fresh, new challenge," he said.

"The opportunity to come here was too good to turn down.

"QPR are a club looking to get back into the Premier League and if I can come in and help in some small way, I'll do my best to do that."

Hughes had made 17 appearances in all competitions for the Cottagers this term.

He added: "It's a chance for me to come and get some games and help this club build on what's been a good season so far.

"It's a different challenge but one I'm really looking forward to.

"Harry (Redknapp) tried to sign me as a youngster when he was at West Ham, so it's nice that I've now got the opportunity to play for him."

Redknapp is thrilled to net the former Newcastle United ace who has secured 88 Northern Ireland caps.

"Aaron's a very experienced player and, with the injuries we've suffered lately, he's a fantastic addition," said Redknapp.

"He's got pace, excellent positional sense and is a good out-and-out defender.

"He's a great professional and he'll be a big asset to us."

Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle has departed Wolves and also linked up with Queens Park Rangers on loan until the end of the season.

Meanwhile, former Cliftonville favourite Rory Donnelly has joined Coventry City on a loan deal from Premier League side Swansea City until the end of the season.

The 21-year old joined the Swans in December 2011.

City manager Steven Pressley said he was delighted to secure the services of a striker he believes has a big future.

The City boss said: "We believe Rory has fantastic potential and will add a lot of quality to our group.

"We're delighted to bring him in on loan until the end of the season and it is a huge boost to the squad to get him in.

"I believe our style of play will suit him. I have said that I wanted to bring in strikers throughout the window and after securing Nathan Delfouneso, this creates real competition up front."

Liverpool defender Ryan McLaughlin has agreed to extend his loan stay at Oakwell until the end of the season.

The Northern Ireland youth international made an impressive debut against Blackpool but picked up a hamstring injury days later.

The 19-year-old is set for a spell of up to four weeks on the sideline, but manager Danny Wilson was determined to keep the tenacious full-back until the end of the campaign.

Reds boss Wilson said: "We're delighted to have Ryan on board for the remainder of the season. He has become one of the group and his performance against Blackpool showed just what he is capable of.

"We won't rush him back from injury, but we're hopeful he'll be back as soon as possible."

Belfast Telegraph