Premier League

Hughes wants strong finish

Centre-back only looking at Stoke match

Hughes: Happy to be in top-half

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Fulham defender Aaron Hughes is fully focused on finishing the Premier League season as high as possible.

The Cottagers have found themselves on the periphery of the European qualification places in recent weeks, but the Northern Ireland international is just thankful to be playing in England's top division again next season.

"Our primary goal this year was to stay in the league - it's pretty safe to say we've done that. So now, we just have to try and finish as high as we can. If that is good enough to get us into a European spot, then so be it," Hughes told the club's official website.

"Going from where we were last year to possibly qualifying for Europe would be a massive jump.

"I think we've already surpassed expectations a little bit, but if we could top it off with a European spot it would be great for a lot of people.

"Obviously we have some tricky games coming up so it will still be a tough ask. But it's within reach and finishing seventh is not impossible. "

One of those tricky games will be this weekend's fixture against Stoke City as Fulham look to add to their 13 clean sheets this season.

The Potters have virtually secured their place in the top-flight for next season, but Hughes does not expect to face a team with one eye on the holiday beaches.

"Looking at the table I think Stoke are pretty much out of it, (relegation trouble)," added Hughes.

"Their win last weekend was a big one and I'm sure they'll be coming here looking for another good result so it'll be a tough game.

"We know how Stoke play, they're quite direct and they have big, strong players so it will be a test. But as we showed up there, when we got the ball down and knocked it around we played some good stuff and they found it hard.

"It'll be a good game so there's no reason why we can't be confident of getting something."