Fulham defender Aaron Hughes believes Fulham will finish strongly in what he predicts will be a tight end to the season.

The Cottagers lie 10th in the standings after Saturday’s last-gasp defeat at Aston Villa, which came after a three-match winning streak that propelled them up the table.

The result means just four points separate eighth-placed Sunderland and Villa in 15th spot, making it extremely difficult to predict where teams will end the season.

Hughes, though, is confident Fulham will finish the campaign well, starting with a return to winning ways when Swansea come to Craven Cottage on Saturday.

“It’s going to be quite tight because there’s a lot of teams around us now all bunched on similar points,” he told Fulham’s official website. “Each week maybe someone will jump ahead of someone else, then the next week they’ll be back down.

“I think if we can go on little runs like we have done, with two or three games where we gets wins, certainly don’t lose, then we’ve definitely got a good chance of finishing in a strong position in the league. Swansea’s confidence will be high [this weekend]. They’re known, a bit like us, for getting the ball down and passing it.

“They’re a good footballing side so it will be a good test for us. But at home this season we’ve done well and there’s no reason we can’t do well again on Saturday.”

Fulham’s recent upturn in fortunes has coincided with Hughes’ return to the Fulham starting line-up.

Manager Martin Jol has preferred to play Philippe Senderos alongside Brede Hangeland in central defence this season, although the Northern Ireland international has recently enjoyed a run of games in the back four.

Hughes missed the late defeat to former club Villa at the weekend due to a calf injury, but confirmed he is back in contention to face Swansea this weekend.

“I was disappointed to miss out last weekend but I’m fine now,” he said. “I had a minor problem which I was hoping wouldn’t stop me playing [against Aston Villa] but unfortunately I just missed out. I feel fine now, though. I did a little bit of work on Monday just to make sure I was okay and I trained fully on Tuesday so I’m fine.

“It was nice to be involved in that run. The team played really well and got three really, really good results so it’s always nice to come in and have that happen. On a personal note, it’s nice to just have a little run in the side and that’s why I was so disappointed to miss out at the weekend.”