Aaron Hughes says Fulham can solidify their place in the top half of the table if they can keep their good run going throughout a tough December fixture list.

Yesterday’s home win over Sunderland propelled Fulham to eighth in the table but the Christmas period will see them take on Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea. Hughes, though, doesn’t see any reason to be daunted by the task ahead.

December is an important month for every club, it always is. At the minute Chelsea, United and Tottenham are in the top four teams, so we have some tough fixtures. But we don’t have anything to fear though, because we’ve shown in the past that we can match these teams.

We want a good run over this period and to pick up as many points as we can, which will allow us to start the New Year with a lot of confidence. I feel we can keep doing what we have been doing, so I don’t think we’ll be looking over our shoulders for too long.

Hughes, who recently signed a contract extension at Craven Cottage, has been an admirable stand-in for injured club captain Danny Murphy in recent weeks.

There are probably a few lads in the team that could wear the armband in Danny’s absence. It has been good and I have enjoyed the challenge and responsibility it brings. You don’t always have the chance to captain a team in the Premier League, so it’s a big honour.

I’ve been Northern Ireland captain for a while now, so I know what is expected and I try my hardest. I’ve never been a player that shouts and screams at his team-mates. I don’t think you need one person to get the team going, I find that everyone is motivated.

Danny is very influential on and off the field and we’ve missed him while he’s been out. He’s a great captain.

Hughes believes that the results Fulham have achieved whilst missing several key players have shown that there is now a greater depth to Roy Hodgson’s squad than there has been in the past.

We’ve had to manage. It’s difficult when you have key players missing but you have to react accordingly. From the outside people think we lack depth as a squad but I don’t think that is the case at all.

This squad has a lot of strength in depth. We’ve shown that because despite having players out, we’ve got some decent results. The manager is very meticulous and he makes sure that every player knows what is expected and what needs to be done.