SOUGHT-AFTER North Queensland defender Mark Hughes says he has turned down offers from rival A-League clubs, preferring to stand by Fury until a decision is made on their future.
The 23-year-old English defender, who has impressed in his first season in Australia, has been among the off-contract Fury players chased by rival A-League clubs as the Townsville outfit's future remains unclear beyond this season.
But Hughes met with Fury management on Thursday and revealed he'd knocked back all offers, in a sign of commitment to North Queensland.
"The Fury brought me to Australia and showed belief in me now the least I can do is show belief in them," Hughes told the Townsville Bulletin.
"I've turned down two offers from clubs to give the Fury the opportunity to have the first go and they deserve a chance.
"The teams wanted (an answer) quick, but it didn't seem right and I couldn't really say straight away.
"Everyone at the Fury is working hard behind the scenes ... I appreciate that, so it's the least I can do."
He added: "It's a relaxing place, good people and the community makes you feel welcome wherever you go ... I believe the people of Townsville deserve a club.
"I'm part of the leadership group here and hopefully people can follow the example and give them a chance. But a lot of boys have families to look after, they're not going to wait around forever."
Fury football operations manager Robbie Middleby said he was delighted Hughes had decided to give the club time.
"Mark is arguably one of the best players in the A-League ... it doesn't surprise me that so many clubs have been chasing his services," Middleby said.
"I'm delighted that he is willing to give us time to secure the club's future and ultimately his signature as a Fury player for years to come.
"We will be doing everything we can to keep Mark and others at the club, but appreciate they have families and commitments to think about, and there will come a point where tough decisions have to be made."
Hughes, a former Everton and Walsall player, declined to disclose which clubs had made the offers but it is believed champions Sydney FC were among them.