Fulham open Hughes talks

Cottagers keen to keep Northern Ireland defender

Aaron Hughes: Entering his sixth season with Fulham

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Sky Sports understands Fulham have opened talks with defender Aaron Hughes over extending his contract at Craven Cottage.

The 32-year-old, who made 18 Premier League starts last season, is in the final year of his current deal and is one of several players negotiating new terms with the Cottagers.

The Northern Ireland international has been a mainstay in the Fulham defence since making a £1million move from Aston Villa in 2007, clocking up 204 appearances.

After coming through the youth ranks at Newcastle, Hughes made 278 first-team appearances for the Magpies before joining Aston Villa for £1m in 2005.

Hughes made his debut for Northern Ireland in March 1998 and although he retired from international football last September, he reversed that decision in February.

He won his 80th cap against Norway at the end of February and has been named in Northern Ireland's squad to face Finland on August 15, three days before Fulham start their Premier League campaign at home to Norwich.