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Coyle: Hughes can be a hit at Fulham
Published : 13 Aug 2010 15:42:00
olton boss Owen Coyle expects Fulham and Mark Hughes to be a winning combination this season. It has been a difficult summer for the Cottagers following manager Roy Hodgson's defection to Liverpool and the search for his successor which only ended with the appointment of Hughes at the end of July. Going into Fulham's opening Premier League game against Bolton on Saturday, Hughes has no new signings to his name and only around a fortnight of preparation with the players under his belt, but Coyle has predicted a positive campaign for the former Manchester City boss and his new club. "You have a terrific manager first and foremost in the shape of Mark Hughes," Coyle said. "There is no doubt that he will mould that team the way he wants, but he will also recognise that he has inherited some very good players from Roy. "So when you put the combination together, Fulham will show everyone this season again that they are a quality side." Hughes has a tough act to follow after Hodgson led the Londoners to unprecedented success last term by taking them to the Europa League final. Coyle defied the odds at his previous club Burnley as the Clarets reached the Carling Cup semi-finals and promotion to the Premier League in 2008-09, and the Scot feels Fulham's exploits in Europe have demonstrated what smaller clubs can achieve if all the right factors come together. "What it shows you is that if you have the belief and a group of players who are prepared to work - and sometimes the bounce of the ball goes your way - then it can be achievable," Coyle said. "I've been fortunate enough to be involved in some dressing rooms like that myself - we did it at Burnley where we played 61 games that season with something like 16 players because we were embargoed and couldn't sign a player from January onwards. "Fulham had a terrific season (in 2009-10) and I think all clubs in that area would look at Fulham and think 'they are a similar-sized club to ourselves - that is achievable'. "It is, but you need the belief and the quality to back it up." Coyle will, of course, be hoping Hughes does not make a winning start to his tenure on Saturday at the Reebok Stadium, as the 44-year-old looks to build upon his achievement of guiding Wanderers to safety last season. "We finished 14th last year having been in the bottom three when I came in and what we have to look to do is improve on that," Coyle said. "We accept how difficult that will be because the Premier League is very unforgiving with the quality you play against. "But it is a season we are looking forward to, we are optimistic and we want to hit the ground running."