Hugill had spent time at the Glenn Hoddle Academy as well as spells at non-league clubs Seaham Red Star, Consett, and Whitby Town before the Valiants gave him his first step as a pro.
He was sent out on loan at the start of the 2013/14 season to Gateshead soon after joining the Staffordshire based outfit, and managed five goals in seven appearances during his short time at the North-East club.
His little yet impressive goal scoring record there prompted Vale to bring back the forward and he ended up featuring 24 times for the Club that season whilst adding a further five goals to his total for the 2013/14 campaign, including netting for Port Vale against North End in PNE’s 3-2 win on New Year’s Day.
Hugill obviously did enough to impress PNE boss Simon Grayson on that day, and joined North End in the summer of 2014.
The youngster certainly impressed during the early part of the season as he found the net twice in his first five appearances; one of those goals coming against his boyhood heroes Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup.
Hugill suffered a knee ligament injury against Walsall in the last of those matches – a game in which he also received a red card which put him on the shelf until February 2015.
The frontman then went on loan to Tranmere Rovers where he scored once in six appearances before he switched to Hartlepool – a decision which turned out to be a memorable one.
Back in the North-East, and with Hartlepool scrapping for their Football League lives, Hugill stepped up to the plate and scored four times in eight matches; including the winner which kept the Pools up against Exeter City at the Victoria Ground.
Hugill enjoyed his first season in the Championship, scoring vital goals in the local derbies against Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers.