Hughes ready for Azzurri
Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes is looking forward to leading his country out against Italy on Friday.
Last Updated: 05/10/10 4:48pm
Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes is looking forward to leading his country out against Italy on Friday night.
The 30-year-old Fulham defender will skipper the side for the crunch Euro 2012 qualifier at Windsor Park, having enjoyed some famous results against big teams in recent years.
Both England and Spain have fallen victim in Belfast and Nigel Worthington's men will be looking to cause an upset once more when the Azzurri come to town.
"At home over the last few years we've had some really good results," Hughes told Fulham's official website.
"The England and Spain games will be talked about for years and we beat a lot of good teams that were ranked higher than us at home.
"Our home form is strong and we should go into the game with plenty of confidence, but it would be extremely dangerous to go into the match thinking Italy aren't what they used to be because the team is full of quality players.
"We face a tough test and we have to do everything we did against Slovenia in the first game and a little bit more."
Northern Ireland opened their Euro 2012 account with an impressive victory in Slovenia last time out and after the visit of Italy they face a potential banana skin when they go to the Faroe Islands in Group C.
"We will go into the game against the Faroe Islands as favourites, but it will almost be like a cup match against a lower league team," Hughes added.
"We have to make sure we do everything right because it's the type of game you can easily slip up in.
"If you don't do it properly you will become unstuck so they are two massive games for us.
"In past qualification campaigns we have done well around the middle of the campaign and not got off to the best start.
"We have had to play catch-up in the past, but if we can get a strong start then we will give ourselves a really good chance."