Leeds United: Hughes eyes starting spot

Andrew Hughes believes he has enhanced his claim to a regular starting place under Simon Grayson after returning to Leeds United's line-up for their 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

Hughes made his fourth league start of the season on Saturday, replacing suspended right-back Paul Connolly, and a solid performance has given him hope of a more consistent run in the team.

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Connolly served a one-match ban against Palace after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season at Reading last month but he is in contention for this weekend's visit to Burnley and could make an immediate return to Grayson's side.

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Hughes has been a versatile member of United's squad throughout his time at Elland Road, appearing most often as a full-back despite his reputation as a central midfielder.

He featured predominantly as a left-sided defender last season, playing in all but nine of Leeds' 60 competitive fixtures.

The summer signing of Connolly from Derby County and George McCartney's

arrival on loan from Sunderland have filled both sides of Grayson's backline but United's manager turned back to Hughes on Saturday after Connolly's ban created a hole in a settled side.

The 32-year-old was substituted with 13 minutes to play and Leeds trailing 1-0, replaced by striker Billy Paynter as Grayson flooded the field with attacking players in an attempt to overturn Palace's lead.

Hughes said: "The manager explained to me what he was doing at the start of the season in terms of bringing full-backs in and I don't have

a problem with that. I'll work as hard as I can.

"I thought I was solid and did okay. The manager brought me off because it was a positive move to try and win the game.

"Paul Connolly has done well and it's up to me to push him. I was fortunate to play because he was suspended and I'd like to think I took my chance. But it's up to the manager to decide what to do."

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