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Barry Hayles hopes he has done enough to keep his place in Fulham’s starting line up – despite admitting he was bitterly disappointed not to find the net against Leeds.

Chris Coleman picked the Jamaican international ahead of Brian McBride for his first start in four matches and the 31 year-old striker felt he should have scored. Hayles told Fulham’s official website this morning:

“The manager took me to one side on Friday and told me he’d be putting me in and I’m grateful to him for that. I just wish I could have scored to stake a claim to the position. I went close a few times, especially with that header – I tried to plant it, to really pick my spot, but it just didn’t quite happen! But we’ve got a tough game coming up next week, everyone’s looking forward to it, and I’m just hoping that I can keep hold of the shirt.

Leeds are down at the bottom and they’re going to battle for everything. The manager said we had to match that, and I thought we did. Being the home side we had to press on and we did that too. We could have scored in the first half and could certainly have got a few more in the second.

Boa got through so many times – unfortunately a lot of the chances were on his right foot, if they’d been on his left he would probably have scored a few more. But all credit to him for making those runs. I thought we played well and made a lot of chances. That’s what the manager wanted; he made it very clear that we had to take the three points. He put the three up front and we really went for it.

We didn’t really let them have anything in the second half, and that’s all credit to the system and to the midfielders – I thought Leggy, Sean and Pembs were fantastic. They were picking up all the second balls and that meant we were making a lot of chances.”

Hayles believes Fulham could spring a surprise in the SW6 derby at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

“I think we play better away from home. And if we can take the confidence from this win into next week’s game then I think we’ve got a good chance of taking the three points and then we can really push on from there. This was an important win for us. The boys didn’t want to start feeling sorry for themselves and get into the frame of mind of just turning up for the sake of it. We’re aiming to finish at least top-eight and that’s what the boys are pushing for.

This was a massive, massive game for us and the manager really got the message over to us how important it was that we got the three points. We’ve got to thirty-nine points now and that means we can really look forward to the last ten games of the season with a lot of confidence.”