Hughes stays upbeat

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Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes is expecting a positive response from his team-mates for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Wales.

Lawrie Sanchez's troops were easily brushed aside by Poland in their opening fixture of the 2006 World Cup qualifying programme on Saturday.

Sanchez must now rally his squad for the midweek trip to The Millennium Stadium, with Wales expected to pick up the points.

But Newcastle United defender Hughes is anxious for his compatriots not to feel sorry for themselves ahead of the visit to Cardiff.

Hughes is adamant Northern Ireland can collect a result in Wales, providing they are not too downcast after the 3-0 loss to Poland.

"We have to keep our heads held high," urged Hughes. "We've got to be positive.

"Wales are as good as Poland and have quality throughout the squad.

"But if we cut out the mistakes, we have a good chance of taking something from the game."