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Aaron Hughes is out for six weeks and will miss the start of Fulham’s Premier League season.

The 26 year-old Northern Ireland skipper ruptured ligaments in his foot during Fulham’s friendly with QPR last Friday.

The Hughes injury is a blow for Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez, who paid £1m to Aston Villa for the classy defender.

It is also a big problem for Northern Ireland as there is the possibility that the inspirational Hughes may have to sit out Northern Ireland’s next three European Championship qualifiers, starting with Liechtenstein at Windsor Park in 14 days time.