DEPARTING Wales boss Mark Hughes does not often come across as the emotional type but that may not be the case at tonight's must-win clash against Poland at the Millennium Stadium as he bids farewell to the managerial hotseat.

Hughes admits that he will be sad to leave a job that he has enjoyed through thick and thin over the last five years.

He said: "It may well be my last game in charge but I will not let that affect the preparations for the game. "I do show my emotions and I have put a lot of effort into this job, as have my staff.

"The players have backed me with immense effort and commitment so there will be a point when all things come to an end and it will be a sad day for me."

Hughes insists that Wales are in a far better position now than when he took over and he is hoping Wales can grab victory tonight to ensure his successor has a chance of making the play-offs.

He said: "Things have to move on and it is important that we are still in a position to qualify. That's what we are gearing up to.

"I think that I leave behind a structure in place. From where we were to where we are now is like night and day, like chalk and cheese. Now it is a very good job for whoever has the chance to take over. There wasn't many quality candidates when I threw my hat in the ring five years ago.

"But when you see some of the names who want to take the job, maybe that shows I have done a good job to move it forward."

Results in the last 18 months have not been great, with Wales failing to win in nine attempts but Hughes feels that the recent criticism, especially after the defeat at Old Trafford last Saturday, is an indication of how much expectation levels have rose.

He said: "Whenever a Welsh side gets success, expectation rises and that just shows the passion that the Welsh public has for sport.

"We are all aware of this and you show never be afraid of expectation.

"You should enjoy the adulation that comes and accept that if you don't get the success you will get the brick-bat as well.

"In recent years we have struggled to compete at this level but now we can compete. "

He added: "I'm not here to say that we will win every game but when we have our best team on the field and play to the best of our ability then we can go close to beating anyone."

Hughes will need his misfiring side to do just that tonight as they come up against a Polish side who have already picked up two wins away from home (against Austria and Northern Ireland) and will be far from pushovers.

He said: "They're a big, strong physical side. I watched them against Austria and their tempo was incredible. So it is going to be very difficult evening."

On the plus side, Wales Rhys Weston - plagued by a hamstring injury - looks set to play at right-back after training with his teammates yesterday, allowing Simon Davies to play on the right side of midfield.

Hughes hinted that he is preparing to go with two up front, with John Hartson and Craig Bellamy the likely pairing, with Rob Earnshaw again on the bench. "He'll play some part," said Hughes, "But not necessarily from the start."

* Hughes believes Gary Speed would be an ideal replacement as Wales manager. Bolton midfielder Speed also has the backing of the Wales players.

Hughes said: "Gary Speed would be a good appointment. He has the qualities to become a good manager. It would be a similar situation to me when I took over.

"They got it right then and I hope they get it right now,"