Fulham's Aaron Hughes isn't getting complacent about the prospect of progressing in this year's Europa League, as he pointed out that Crusaders, who are based in his home country of Northern Ireland, have ‘nothing to lose’.
The centre half played a key role in the Cottagers' 3-1 first leg win over the Hatchetmen, but said that Thursday's home game will not be a walk in the park.
"They [Crusaders] did extremely well last week, and we should expect more of the same on Thursday night," said Hughes.
"They have nothing to lose and they'll love the experience of playing at Craven Cottage
"They may trail 3-1, but they'll be up for this one, make no mistake about that. They will go out, give their all and see what happens.
"I've been in teams that were considered the underdog before and it spurs you on – you want to do all you can to upset the odds.
"They made life very difficult at times last week and it was important for us to get a few goals and take a lead back with us. We always have confidence that we can get the better of any team at the Cottage, so the aim is to see the game through and finish the job."
John Arne Riise will get his first chance to join the west London team on the pitch, after signing with Fulham on July 13, and Hughes looked forward to seeing him make an impact.
"He's a fantastic signing for this club and he has been one of Europe's top left backs for a number of years. He's played for some great clubs and comes in with talent and experience,” Hughes added.
"He should have no problem settling in because he has already shown that he can play in the Premier League. It's an exciting acquisition and I'm sure he'll become a valuable member of the squad. The club have made a real statement in regards to the type of player that they want to bring in."
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