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Hughes praise for returning players

In addition to last night's victory, a positive was that it was achieved with a number of players who - through injury - had yet to really feature for the side this season.

In his post-match comments, Mark Hughes singled out Roque Santa Cruz and Michael Johnson in particular:
"Roque got a start and a goal as well. I thought his general play was outstanding. He allowed players to flourish around him. I was pleased for him because I think he showed everybody what he is capable of."

"In addition to that Michael has come on and scored an outstanding goal as well and we are delighted with that because for long periods while he was out it was a worry whether or not he could get back to the level of the first team. Now we understand the problem that he had and hopefully he will be able to stay fit and well."
With Adebayor, Bridge and Toure expected to be fit for the weekend trip to Birmingham, competition for places is really beginning to intensify - something that should sharpen up the focus after dropping points in recent weeks.