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Fulham striker Andrew Johnson is in for some pretty tough tackling at Southampton later today – and that’s just how his manager wants it.

In the week when team-mate Danny Murphy ignited wrath with comments over dangerous play, boss Mark Hughes reckons the only way he’ll discover whether the £10m striker is ready for a return to Premiership action is by the challenges he gets at St Mary’s.

The behind-doors friendly is also slated to be Johnson’s first 90 minutes in nine months after a combination of injuries has deprived Fulham of his services since January.

Hughes said: “We tried to arrange decent opposition last week – but we could only get an in-house match where Andy played 60 minutes.

“But players pulled out of tackles to protect him and themselves. At Southampton he’ll get more of a game that will also be competitive – and we’ll see after that.”