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By ESPN Staff

Hughes backs Allardyce for England post

Fulham boss Mark Hughes believes Sam Allardyce will be a strong candidate for the England job in two years time.

• Forum: Weekend predictions

Hughes will revisit the club he managed between 2004 and 2008 when the Cottagers travel to Blackburn in the Premier League on Saturday.

Allardyce eventually succeeded Hughes in 2008 after Paul Ince's ill-fated reign had been brought to an early conclusion. The Welshman admires Allardyce and believes he has a chance of replacing Fabio Capello when he steps down as England coach in 2012, but questions whether his tactics would suit the international stage.

Hughes said: "Sam's record in the Premier League stands comparison with any British, England or foreign manager at the level of the clubs he's been at. He's a successful Premier League manager and the view at this time is that England need an English manager. I also hold that view because it's important that a country is led by someone of the same nationality. Sam has made his mark in the Premier League, which is the strongest league in world football. If you can get positive results in this league you're a good manager.

"Whether the way Sam sets up his team lends itself to international management is a debate for another day. But certainly his record in terms of games won makes him a strong candidate.''

Winger Damien Duff returns against his former club after recovering from a calf injury, but Fulham will be missing Bobby Zamora for at least five months. The England striker suffered ankle ligament damage as well as a broken fibula in last Saturday's 2-1 win over Wolves.

"The operation showed there was ligament damage, which we hoped there wouldn't be. We're probably looking at five months plus,'' said Hughes. "There's no concern over his ability to get back and play to the same level that he was at before the injury. To lose him for the length of time we are means other players will have to step up to the mark.''

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