Aaron Hughes hoping to prove his fitness

Melbourne City Aaron Hughes Euro 2016

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Defender Aaron Hughes is hopeful that regular football at Melbourne City will tempt Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill to pick him for his Euro 2016 squad.

The centre-half joined the A-League outfit in July 2015 and he made his first appearance in the 4-2 win at Adelaide United in November.

While the majority of his club team-mates are dreaming of silverware this season, the 36-year-old is hoping to play his part in this summer’s tournament.

Northern Ireland will play in their first major tournament since the 1986 World Cup but Hughes admitted last year that he may miss out.

Hughes is Northern Ireland’s most capped outfield player with 96 appearances, but his place in the Euro 2016 squad is not guaranteed due to the form of his compatriots.

The likes of Chris Baird, Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans and Craig Cathcart are all in front of him in the pecking order but the former Newcastle United star is still dreaming of making O’Neill’s squad.

He told WA Today: “If I can stay fit and get game time … ultimately it comes down to just playing. There’s nothing like match fitness, and the quality and level over here is good enough for me to be able to compete at that level still.

“It comes down to fitness and match sharpness and that will get better the more games I play.”

Northern Ireland, 3.00 to qualify from Group C, having been drawn against Germany, Ukraine and Poland for this summer’s European Championships.

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