Manchester City coach Mark Hughes is hoping to capitalise on Fulham’s tiring Europa League campaign whey they play on Sunday at Eastlands.
Fulham will visit the north-west after a 1-1 draw against Roma at Craven Cottage on Thursday, a match that came just three days after a Premier League encounter with Hull City.
City have a 100 percent home record and and Hughes is quietly confident that that record will continue because he expects Fulham to be drained after their recent exertions.
“They played Monday, Thursday and now they’re heading up the motorway to play us so it’s a big ask for them,” said the Welshman.
“It’s difficult when you’re in Europe, as we found out at times to our cost (last season), so we hope to benefit from that on this occasion.”
Last season Fulham finished in seventh spot to earn their passage to the Europa League, but they have had a stuttering start to this season, while City — aided by big signings like Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor — have flown up the table to fifth.
But, while Hughes is confident of victory, he has no intention of underestimating the west Londoners.
“They are very organised as you would expect. They have a good work ethic and get back into position very quickly and if you are not playing at the required level they are very difficult to break down,” he said.
“We won’t take them lightly because even when they do change their team, they can always make it difficult for us so we will have to be at the right level and make sure we get the job done.”
Fulham have won just once and scored just twice away from home this term and a win for Hodgson’s men would represent a significant upset on current form.
Despite visiting a clearly confident and buoyant City side, Fulham defender Aaron Hughes sees no reason to fear Hughes’s men.
“It’s going to be a big game on Sunday and they’ve got a lot of very talented individuals who are playing well together,” he said.
“They’ve put in a lot of good performances and it’s going to be a very tough game for us but one we relish and we’ll be going there to get something out of the game.”
City are optimistic that Kolo Toure and Craig Bellamy will return after missing last week’s draw with Wigan but Adebayor is a major doubt and Robinho will miss the match due to a setback in his recovery from a stress-fracture.
For Fulham, defender Paul Konchesky joined a growing injury list against Roma that has already ruled out Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu, Simon Davies and Andrew Johnson, leaving Hodgson with shortages in most departments.
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