Aaron Hughes aiming for century of caps for Northern Ireland

Aaron Hughes aims to reach the 100 cap milestone for Northern Ireland
Aaron Hughes aims to reach the 100 cap milestone for Northern Ireland

Former Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes has confirmed he has no desire to retire for a second time as he chases a landmark one hundred caps.

The Fulham defender retired after the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, but was persuaded to return by Michael O'Neill.

Hughes will win his 88th cap in Adana on Friday as Northern Ireland take on Turkey in an international friendly.

"I guess because I am on 87 caps I do think a bit about getting to the 100 milestone," said Hughes.

A troublesome thigh injury has kept Hughes out of his side's last four World Cup qualifiers but the fact he has returned to the squad for a friendly at the end of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign is a positive sign for Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill.

"I haven't thought about retirement," claimed Hughes.

"The last time I thought long and hard about it and it felt right at the time.

"I then spoke to Michael and I liked a lot of things he was saying. I also really missed it and any time there was a game I thought a lot about being around the squad.

"At the time I wasn't in the Fulham team so I decided to come back but there is no rush for me to make any decisions now.

"I have had informal chats with Michael but there has been no massive heart-to-heart."

An expected start against Turkey will put Hughes tantalisingly close to a century of appearances for his country.

No outfield player has ever done that for Northern Ireland, with goalkeeper Pat Jennings the only man to reach that landmark.

"Sometimes I let myself think about it, then there are other times when I know it is not the time to let my mind wander.

"Everything will depend on injuries and if I am playing for my club.

"I have got to be playing and getting minutes on the pitch if I am going to make it to 100 but of course it would be extremely special.

"At the minute I am just looking to play whenever possible and not looking too far ahead.

"The big goal is to try to qualify for the Euros but like I said, injuries and not playing would probably be factors."

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