Mark Hughes relishing Manchester City visit to Fulham

Mark Hughes admits he is relishing the prospect of making life difficult for his old club Manchester City this weekend.

It is 11 months since Fulham boss Hughes was sacked as manager of City when he did not deliver the points quota demanded by the current owners.

City were in sixth place in the Premier League then. Now, under Roberto Mancini, they are fourth but still struggling to make a consistent impact.

And while Hughes insists he has moved on since leaving Eastlands, he said: "Whenever a player goes up against a team he was employed by, or a manager in my circumstances, there is always an extra incentive to try to win the game. I'm no different from any individual in similar circumstances.

"My aim first and foremost is to win for Fulham. It is always nice to go up against former clubs and show that there is life after you have left them."

The manner in which Hughes left Eastlands, waving farewell to the fans after a 4-3 victory against Sunderland with new boss Mancini in the ground, was seen by many as disrespectful by City's owners.

Hughes, however, said: "Once the door on my career as a manager at Manchester City was closed then I moved on. I don't hold grudges. I'm not bitter about the situation. The only thing that affects is yourself. Why drag yourself down with things that have happened in the past? You have to move on and look for other challenges."

Hughes has a strong squad to choose from for Sunday's match with Mexican defender Carlos Salcido returning ahead of schedule after recovering from ankle ligament damage and defender Chris Baird also back in contention after missing two weeks with a thigh tear.

The only casualty is striker Moussa Dembele who aggravated an ankle injury in training.

But while Hughes hopes to dent City's title hopes he believes the world's richest club will achieve trophy-winning success.

He said: "The team itself hasn't formed as quickly as the people in charge would have liked.

"They made a change (by sacking Hughes) with a view to accelerating the process of getting success. That doesn't seem to have happened.

"But it is only a matter of time. They have got good players there already and have that flexibility to go into the market and buy whoever they like. No other club in the world has that ability. Whether that is fair or right those are the circumstances everybody else finds themselves in.

"It is getting easier to attract players to the club because the profile has been raised in the last 12 months. When I was there it was very difficult to convince people what Manchester City were trying to do. It was difficult to get in front of top players and have a pitch at them. Now the word is out that if you want to go to a club which will give you lots of money Manchester City are a viable option.

"There has to be a level of patience. From my point of view that wasn't shown as long as I felt it should have been. But the current manager is their choice. I always felt the fact that I wasn't hand-picked to do the job would at some point undermine me and I think that happened. Maybe now there is more patience."

Does he have any sympathy for the criticism current City boss Mancini has received?

"Sympathy? No, we all know what the job entails," said Hughes.

"I went to City because I wanted to test myself on a bigger stage. In the end it became difficult for me to progress but it was a good experience. There are good people there.

"Everybody has moved on. They have moved on. I don't think they will be thinking about me at the weekend and I am just focusing on Fulham."

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