Hughes tips Blues pair to ‘gel’

The Blues’ £74million strikeforce will start together for the

second time in Monday night’s west London derby at Craven Cottage.

Expectations of the duo are high following Torres’ £50million

transfer from Liverpool and Hughes believes they will deliver, but

not overnight. “I expect them to gel together. They are good

players so it will be interesting to see how the team shapes up,”

said the Fulham boss. “In the last few years with all its success,

Chelsea have been based around a focal point which has been Drogba.

“He has a few others which support him as well – will that change

with Torres? We will see. “There is an expectation that the boy

will play. “I know (Chelsea manager) Carlo Ancelotti has played the

diamond before so there could be a different formation now. “Carlo

has been working with formations all his life and will find the

right fit, but with Torres it initially may take time.” The

acquisition of Torres and fellow new signing David Luiz on transfer

deadline day for a combined fee of £75million has been

declared a statement of intent by Chelsea. Hughes, who believes the

Blues’ main target this season is now Champions League

qualification after ruling them out of the title race, believes

they are under pressure to deliver. “Chelsea have bought those two

players to get into the Champions Leagues but coming in January is

tough,” he said. “There is an idea that they have to make the

difference. If they don’t get into the Champions League then

questions may be asked. “But it isn’t much of a risk signing these

players because they are surrounded by quality and that can help

you.” Dickson Etuhu has failed to recover from his hamstring injury

so Steve Sidwell will continue to deputise in Fulham’s midfield

against his former club on Monday. Sidwell has played in five

matches since his arrival in January, winning three and drawing

one, and Hughes is very delighted with the new arrival from Aston

Villa. “Steve has done really well so I’m really pleased with him,”

he said. “Credit to him, he has not had a great deal of football

and we have thrown him straight into the team because needs must.

“He is in great nick and has got up to the pace of the Premier

League very quickly. “He has looked after himself – he could have

been disappointed at not playing at Villa but he kept focused and

trained correctly. That has enabled him to hit the ground running.

“Steve and Danny Murphy have worked really well together. “Dickson

has done really well there as well, so we are comfortable in

central midfield.”