Hughes hails fit-again Fulham captain McBride

Aaron Hughes has hailed the impact made by Fulham skipper Brian McBride since his return from injury this season.

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"His work rate, just holding the ball up and bringing players into play is fantastic and it's just a pity that we haven't had them available for more games this season," Hughes told fulhamfc.com.

"Brian was a big miss for us throughout the middle of the season. I think things might have been slightly different if we'd had him running with us all season. But it's good to have him back; we all saw his quality for the goal, as well as his volley that hit the crossbar. If that went in, it would have been one of the goals of the season. Especially with the technique and power he got behind it on his supposedly bad foot.

"We played well in the first half against Reading, they had a period where they put a bit of pressure back on us, but you'd expect that from the home team. But we held on to the lead into half-time, and knew that if we carried on playing the same way in the second half we should get a good result. It was nice when Erik stuck that one away and we knew the game was pretty much over.

"We knew we had to match them physically. Reading were going to set about us, we knew they would be a physical side and try to assert themselves on us. We knew they would try and put balls into the right areas, look to hassle us and not give us much time. We knew that we had to stand up to that first and then try to play the football we've been trying to play after that.

"It was a good performance. Especially in the second half with the way we went out, settled down and started passing the ball around."

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