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Fulham defender Aaron Hughes faces a race against time to be fit for Fulham’s home clash with West Brom on Saturday.

The defender was forced to pull out of the Northern Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Portugal and Luxembourg due to a thigh problem.

Hughes has started the season alongside Brede Hangeland in the heart of Fulham’s backline, with new signing Fernando Amorebieta missing through injury.

However, the Venezuelan is back to fitness and ready to fight for his place after his summer switch from Athletic Bilbao.

But Hughes is hopeful of keeping his spot, providing he recovers in time.

“You work hard to get yourself in the team,” he said. “There’s a lot of competition for places. I’ll do my best and try and keep the spot as long as I can.

“You have to embrace it [when new players come in]. We’re all in it together, and the competition keeps everyone on their toes and makes sure no one gets complacent.

“Fernando has looked quality in training and in the pre-season games. We’re pretty strong with Brede, myself and Phil [Senderos], whose got nothing to prove.

“I’ve got to play as well as I can and try to make it last.”