Hughes hopeful for Bobby
Fulham defender Aaron Hughes is keeping his fingers crossed over the fitness of Bobby Zamora.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 11/05/10 10:47am
Aaron Hughes is keeping his fingers crossed over the fitness of Bobby Zamora as Fulham prepare for one of the biggest nights in their history.
The Cottagers head to Hamburg to face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final as major underdogs in a tournament that has spanned 18 games and started at the end of July.
Fulham begin as underdogs, but that should be no problem for a side who have defied the odds all season to overcome the likes of Italian giants Juventus, holders Shakhtar Donetsk and the final's hosts Hamburg.
Hughes will be up against the likes of World Cup stars in Argentine striker Sergio Aguero and Uruguay's Diego Forlan, but he insisted that they were up to the one last challenge in front of them.
"We've done it the hard way in getting to the final and that shows our character more than anything," he said.
"We kept believing in ourselves and the way we play and that's got us to where we are. There's no reason why we can't win it.
"Atletico are such a big name with such big players that we have to be the underdogs.
"It's a fine line because anything can happen in the final. It's impressive to get this far but it would be great to win it."
Key striker Zamora, who has been in inspired form this season with 21 goals in all competitions, is an injury doubt for the game but Hughes is hopeful that the 29-year-old can play a part.
"Bobby's desperate to play. It's a European final and he's contributed so much to the club," Hughes added.
"Everyone's delighted that he's been able to get the recognition he deserves. He's such an important part of our team.
"If he doesn't play we'll miss him but fingers crossed he'll be fit and if he is that's definitely a plus for us."
The Northern Ireland defender also lavished praise upon manager Roy Hodgson, who was the recipient of the esteemed LMA Manager of the Year award on Monday after what has been a sensational season at Craven Cottage.
"Roy's about hard work, about getting across his principles on style of play. Everyone knows their job and their position," he said.
"He's seen it all in his career so is very composed - he knows how to deal with situations.
"He's pretty calm and that transfers to the players. You don't see us panicking much in games; we just stick to the plan.
"He stresses that win or lose a lot can be made of one game when in fact you play 38 in the league alone."