Fulham: Hughes to use inside knowledge

Mark Hughes will exploit some inside knowledge in a bid to help Fulham spring a surprise in tomorrow's Barclays Premier League game at Liverpool.

The match will see the Cottagers go head to head with Roy Hodgson for the first time since he quit as manager to take charge at Anfield in the summer.

And his replacement Hughes has enlisted his players' help to expose the weaknesses in Hodgson's game plan.

"Obviously, a number of players will understand what Roy's teams are about," Hughes said.

"He likes his teams well-drilled, organised and a lot of the work that Liverpool will be doing at this moment in time is very similar to what he did for the last two years here.

"A lot of things, they'll be aware of in terms of what Roy will try to get from his team and how he'll set them up.

"So obviously I've got an insight into that because of the players that he's worked with previously."

Hodgson's decision to quit after two and a half years at Craven Cottage did not go down well with chairman Mohamed Al Fayed.

But Hughes does not expect the club's travelling fans to give the man who masterminded last season's historic run to the Europa League final a rough ride.

"I think everybody at Fulham appreciates what Roy did in his time," said Hughes.

"I've got a really good group of players here, players who are really receptive in terms of their professionalism and how they conduct themselves, and they apply themselves on a daily basis.

"They're as good a group in that respect as I've worked with. That always helps.

"Obviously, they've been well drilled and they enjoyed their time, the success they had in the last couple of years."

Injuries to key players have hampered Hughes' efforts to build on that work, with Fulham in the midst of a seven-match winless run that has seen them dragged into a relegation dogfight.

They have not won away from home in the league since the opening day of last season and their hopes of doing so tomorrow will be hit by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's expected return from a hamstring injury.

Hughes said: "When you are going up against a strong side you try to negate their threat and he's certainly is a big threat to us if he does play. We have to be mindful of him.

"But when you play against top clubs, they invariably don't just have one weapon, so you can't focus all your resources on one player, albeit you have to be mindful of what they can produce."

So tight is the Premier League that Fulham will arrive at Anfield just six points behind their opponents, who have been inconsistent throughout 2010.

Hughes said: "It's always a difficult fixture irrespective of the circumstances.

"They have quality in key areas of the field and that is difficult to go up against.

"But we have been pleased with what we've produced on our travels for the best part so there is no reason why we can't go to Anfield and cause problems for a team that maybe - if things don't go well - it will have an effect on their confidence.

"We'll go with a positive attitude and try to affect that."

Carlos Carvalhal.

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