Mark Hughes confident of Fulham survival
Mark Hughes believes Fulham are on the brink of guaranteeing their survival in the Barclays Premier League for another season.
The Cottagers, who host Blackpool on Sunday, occupy 12th place in the table yet are still only three points above the relegation zone.
However, they have won four of their last five home league matches and with four games at Craven Cottage remaining, Hughes is confident they are on course to avoid the drop.
"We're very close to where we think we should be," he said.
"We want to maximise our home games and that should get us to the target we thought we'd reach.
"Up until our defeat by Everton last time out we'd been on a great run and that loss maybe made us take a step back.
"But we're still playing well and are on the back of a decent run of results and performances.
"The first half against Everton is the only exception to that.
"We're happy that we're playing well and producing positive performances, which is what you need at this time of year.
"If you're struggling for form and points, then it becomes a case of looking over your shoulder and then at the fixture list to see where your next points are coming from.
"We don't feel like that, we feel like we're playing well enough to pick up a good portion of the points we have left to play for.
"We're 12th in a very congested area of the table. We still have to get the job done, but we're playing well."
Traditionally 40 points is viewed as the safety net required to escape relegation, but Hughes insists an unpredictable season makes it impossible to predict a minimum target.
"It's difficult to call what points total will be enough," he said.
"You can look at trends and previous years and there have been very few times when 40-plus points have been needed.
"Maybe this year will be one of those, but there have been so many unexpected results with top teams not getting maximum points when you suspect they will.
"Then teams at the bottom gain points when previously you thought they had no chance of doing so.
"It's been that kind of season from the start and that's not going to change now.
"There will still be twists and turns and results that surprise us."
Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed will unveil a commemorative statue of Michael Jackson before Sunday's match in memory of his friendship with the singer.
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