Hughes ‘interested’ in Santa Cruz

Hughes failed in an attempt to sign Santa Cruz on loan during the

summer but is weighing up a second approach for the unsettled

Manchester City striker. Hughes worked with Santa Cruz at Eastlands

and Blackburn and the Paraguay international has been told he can

leave City. “I’m interested in players of the quality of Roque,”

Hughes said. “My interest in him before was there for everybody to

see. “Whether we pursue that in January is open to debate. I’m not

aware that he’s available. That might change. But I don’t like

discussing players by name before we’ve actually signed him. “This

time in the transfer window we want to target players quite early

so that we are ready to flick the switch when the window opens.”

Hughes is unconcerned by Fulham’s slide down the Premier League as

they seek to avoid a third successive defeat against Wigan on

Saturday. They lie in 16th place, level on points with Liverpool

who sit in the relegation zone, and are in danger of squandering

their promising start to the season. “We struggled against West

Brom last weekend because of the injuries but prior to that we were

unbeaten until two games ago,” Hughes said. “We acquitted ourselves

very well in the Tottenham game. I was unhappy with a couple of

decisions that went against us. “Overall I’ve been delighted with

our performances, if you take the West Brom game out of it. We need

to pick up three points tomorrow and our home form is good, so the

expectation is we have a good chance. “Four out of our next six

games are at home and we anticipate we’ll pick up points in those

games. Irrespective of who the opposition is, we’ll give them a

good game at home. “Away from home our form isn’t great and we’re

trying to change that. What kind of season we have will depend on

our form on the road.” Andy Johnson will continue his comeback from

a combination of shoulder, knee and hip injuries at Craven Cottage

on Saturday, although he is unlikely to start. “Andy’s available

for selection. He did very well against West Brom but we don’t want

to rush him,” Hughes added. “It’s important for Andy to know in his

own mind that he’s fit and well, but he’s done everything we’ve

asked of him. “He played another game behind closed doors on

Tuesday but he’s probably not ready for 90 minutes. We must filter

him back into the group as carefully as we can.”