Andrew Hughes makes Preston North End claim ahead of FA Cup clash with Huddersfield Town
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North End last hosted their Yorkshire rivals on Boxing Day, a game in which they took the lead but lost 2-1. That was the second of their two league games in the Championship this season but the third overall, with Saturday’s game making it four.
The two teams were drawn together in the first round of the Carabao Cup as well as now the first round both sides were in for the FA Cup, with this weekend’s game also selected for overseas broadcasting and kicking off at 12:30pm.
The Terriers were rock bottom of the Championship when they turned over PNE at Deepdale and Hughes is out for revenge. The Welshman feels North End are the better team should be beating Huddersfield, with the league table backing up his claim.
He said: “We do need to put it right, I do feel, personally, that we are a better team than Huddersfield and league position shows that. We shouldn't have lost that game and it's a shame this one isn't in the league to put it right but we can put it right in this FA Cup tie.
“That home game, that's not one we want to look back, although we can learn from it, it was a disappointing day. You could say we want to put it right on Saturday but it's the same as it was in the league. We do want to put it right and get into the next round of the FA Cup. Every club wants to get that big draw, Man United or Liverpool away, and we want to try and give the fans one of those days.”
Hughes made his return to the North End side in the first game of this year, the win over Stoke City on January 2. Ched Evans’ late header gave PNE all three points with a clean sheet also secured at the other end.
Manager Ryan Lowe has been keen not to rush any of his players back from their injuries, with seven players in the Preston squad recently carrying knocks, but Hughes has so far come through unscathed from his first 90 minutes in about two months.
He said: “I was actually alright, I was expecting to be a lot more stiff than I actually was but I surprised myself. It felt good to be back out there, in the last 15 or 20 minutes I started to get a bit of cramp but I managed to see it through. It was a good day with the late goal and everything. It was another special day at Stoke.
"In the winter break it just happened against St Johnstone in the game at Deepdale. Everyone was dropping like flies, all the injuries came at the same time. It was one of those periods where everyone had to be used and we picked up some really good results during that period, it shows the strength in the squad and people stepping up.”