Hughes to tackle 'disrespectful' managers

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The Independent Online

The wrath of Mark Hughes is not a pretty sight, as any club manager who dares cross him from now on will doubtless discover. The Wales manager is fed up with not being consulted when players are pulled out of his squad at the eleventh hour and vowed here last night to use all "the regulations at my disposal" to stamp out this trend.

The wrath of Mark Hughes is not a pretty sight, as any club manager who dares cross him from now on will doubtless discover. The Wales manager is fed up with not being consulted when players are pulled out of his squad at the eleventh hour and vowed here last night to use all "the regulations at my disposal" to stamp out this trend.

Tonight in the Ferenc Puskas stadium, Hughes will be without 10 players who withdrew from the friendly against a side who also missed out on a spot in Euro 2004 in the play-offs. Rather than the absentees, however, Hughes vented his fury at the club managers who did not treat him with enough respect to contact him personally.

"I am sure the injuries are genuine and these can improve remarkably over a couple of days," Hughes said. "But whether or not they are serious enough to miss an international, I am not sure. In the future I am going to have to make sure it is not as easy to pull out of international games. In the future I will use the regulations at my disposal.

"Sometimes things are relayed by a third party, a club secretary or a medical officer. I would like in the future that I am given the respect from club managers and they inform me so I can plan. This has to be both ways, it cannot be just a one-way thing. I have made concessions by not taking the April friendly date and if managers treat me with respect by phoning me and asking for my help, I will look at the situation and try to do that. But I get annoyed when a manager has a problem, a player does not turn up, and it's not discussed with me."

Hughes currently declines his right to insist that players attend training to have injuries checked by his own medical team, but in the future that could become the norm.

On the field, Hughes expects to give the Leicester left-back Ben Thatcher his debut after the former England Under-21 captain took advantage of new Fifa rules to switch allegiance because of a Welsh grandmother. Robert Earnshaw and Gareth Taylor are likely to be paired up in attack, with the captain, Gary Speed, returning to midfield.

The rash of withdrawals at least means that Hughes has the opportunity to look at fringe players such as the Bournemouth midfielder Carl Fletcher, who could get a chance, as could the right-back Rob Edwards, on loan at Derby from Aston Villa.

Hughes will run up against his former Bayern Munich team-mate Lothar Matthäus, the former Germany midfielder, who is now in charge of Hungary.

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