Preston North End defender Andrew Hughes says that recently being handed the captain’s role for a game was the proudest moment of his time at the club so far.
The Lilywhites’ No.16 took the armband for the FA Cup toe at Wycombe and whilst the result was not what he would have wanted, he was delighted with the faith shown in him by Alex Neil.
Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of the trip to Birmingham City on Wednesday night, he said: “It was a really proud moment for me to captain the team that day; the only downside was how the game went and the result, but it was the proudest moment of my time at the club so far.
“It shows the manager trusts me and I like to think I have repaid him with performances and I will continue to try and do that for him.
“I have played a number of roles this year and that is important for the manager as well; injuries or formation may change and to have players that are versatile are important. Look at Alan Browne, he has played at right back and centre mid and if you put him in goal next week he could play there – it is good to have players like that around the place.”
Speaking of the No.8, Hughes believes Browne’s commitment to the club in the form of his new contract is a statement of intent from everyone involved.
“It is massive that Alan has put pen to paper. It puts a statement out there and it just shows the intent – he is here for the long haul and he wants to succeed at Preston.
“Everyone wants to go in the same direction and get promotion and Alan wouldn’t have signed if he didn’t think we could achieve that.”
Looking at the trip to St Andrews brings back memories for the Welsh full back of the injury he suffered back in October in the reverse fixture, but also gives him hope they can put that and the weekend’s result at Bristol City to bed.
“I don’t think I have a great injury record against Birmingham, but hopefully that has gone now!” He continued. “We are all looking forwards to getting out there and putting the result right from Saturday.
“Everyone was disappointed after Saturday. We didn’t start well enough and even though we had good spells, we all felt there was more to come and we could have played better, but we all felt that the first 20 to 25 minutes lost us the game.
“Our first training session was Thursday last week, although we had sessions to keep ticking over and no-one is going to use that as an excuse for the result or why we started badly, but it wouldn’t have helped the new lads and we just have to put it right on Wednesday.
“The next week clear midweeks will help the new lads; it will give them more time on the training ground to see how the gaffer wants to play and will it stand them in good stead going forward.
“For the whole squad we are looking forward to that. Before it was a game every two days and there was as much a mental barrier as a physical one, where you are knackered, but know you have to go again, it was a really tough spell, so to get a run of Saturday-Saturday will be good for the body and the mind.”
The test Aitor Karanka’s side can provide will be a tough one, but Hughes feels ready: “There is not one easy game in this league. We will be fully prepared for the game on Wednesday and looking to get the win.
“With playing on Wednesday and Sunday this week, it will allow us to prepare as well as recover and that will also help the new lads and we can get out on the pitch and prepare properly.
“I feel personally I am in a good position. I have felt confident this season and the gaffer has played me in a few different positions and I have been quite pleased with the way it has gone for myself, but it is not an individual game, I want the team to do well and win as many games as possible,” he added.
Wednesday's game is a 7.45pm kick-off, with iFollow PNE having full coverage from just after 7.15pm, with former North End centre half Michael Jackson joining Guy Clarke for full match overage - click here now to sign up for an iFollow match pass for just £10.