Fulham's Aaron Hughes could leave

Clive Mason

Martin Jol couldn't confirm that he'd stay beyond the summer, as Hughes tries to fight off Philippe Senderos for a starting spot

Martin Jol could not rule out the possibility of Aaron Hughes leaving at the end of the season with the Northern Irishman losing his first team place to Philippe Senderos.

Jol has faced dozens of questions over recent weeks concerning a potential overhaul of the squad in the summer and it now seems Hughes can be added to a list of players who could potentially depart.

The defender, formerly a firm favourite to partner Brede Hangeland in defence, has been forced into the periphery by Senderos, preferred by Jol for much of this season.

It has undoubtedly left Hughes concerned for his future, and Jol could not give him any assurances.

"It depends on the player as well. I've got one or two players who tell me almost every week that they need to play," the Dutchman said.

"If they need to play and you're not playing here then you probably think about going to another club.

"But that is something for the end of the season - and I don't think Aaron [Hughes] will be one of them, but you can never say never."

Many feel that Hughes' demotion has been somewhat unjustified. The 33 year-old hasn't suffered a loss of form and while Senderos has been respectable in filling in, the Swiss international has hardly been faultless.

Working on a one-game-one-error tally, the former Arsenal man has made some perilous mistakes on various occasions this season. He's slow, flat footed and can lose concentration all too easily.

But still, Fulham have improved defensively since his call up to the first team. It leaves Jol in an understandably difficult situation, but Hughes, at the very least, should be retained.

Age may be getting the better of him but we know all-too-well at Fulham that he and Hangeland together can prove, on their day, beyond impenetrable.

As the season winds to a close, maybe Jol could begin to experiment a little and, though it feels weird to say it after proving so indispensable in recent years, perhaps that experiment should be Hughes' reinstatement to the first eleven.

It seems it could either be that, or no Hughes at all.

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