Andrew Hughes says he is benefiting from a run in the Preston North End side since football's restart

Andrew Hughes thinks he is hitting his stride in the Preston North End team of late after a difficult time with injuries last season.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 4:45 pm

The Welsh defender was in and out of the side for spells of 2019/20, hindering him in his quest to build up some form.

However, he played all nine restart games last season, while in the current campaign Hughes has started six league of the eight Championship matches – coming on as a sub in the other two.

With a new two-year contract announced this week, Hughes hopes last season’s difficult spell is now behind him.

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Preston North End left-back Andrew Hughes goes past Millwall striker Kenneth Zohore

Hughes said: “I’m happy to get the contract done, I love this club and have loved my time here so far. I just need to keep working hard to impress.

“It was an easy decision to sign the contract, I’m really settled up here.

“There are a great set of boys here, I love all the staff, I feel at home.

“When I got injured last season I found it really hard to get into my rhythm.

Andrew Hughes challenges in the air against Millwall

“I got three very different injuries and just couldn’t pick up any form.

“Now I feel like I’m back in my stride a bit more this season, I’m feeling more confident than I did last season.

“Because I’d had a good first season here, people just assume you will hit the ground running after an injury – that is not always the case.

“Since coming back after lockdown I have played a lot more games and got my confidence.”

North End defender Andrew Hughes signed a new two-year contract this week

Hughes’ new contract takes him through to the summer of 2022, Josh Earl and Adam O’Reilly also signing new deals this week.

Like his team-mates, Hughes is trying to work out the contrast in North End’s home and away form this season.

Pointless at Deepdale, the Lilywhites have won three and drawn one on their travels.

The latest in that home and away saga was the 2-0 defeat to Millwall on Wednesday night.

Deepdale is the venue again on Saturday for the clash with Birmingham, the fact they are playing on home turf providing no comfort to the fans.

Millwall caught them on the break for the first goal, just as Swansea and Cardiff had done previously.

Their second goal came in the final few minutes from the penalty spot.

At the moment it is looking too easy for the opposition at Deepdale.

Any manager or head coach preparing to send his side to Preston would at the moment be minded to play on the break.

Said Hughes: “We need a bit more to break teams down at home.

“In that division when you go 1-0 down it can be difficult to come back, although we have managed it at Brentford and Huddersfield.

“It’s a strange one, at the moment it feels like all games are at a neutral venue because there are no fans there.

“So I can’t put my finger on why there is the difference between our home and away results.

“We’ve clicked away, maybe that is because the home team have come out more in an attempt to put their stamp on the game and we’ve exploited that.

“Maybe we are more of a transition team and that is where we are at our best.

“We need to get some form going at home, that’s obvious to say.

“Against Millwall we came up against a side who are a well-drilled machine.

“They do what they do very well, we knew what to expect but just didn’t play well enough.

“Look, we are aware of the home and away thing but we don’t want to turn it into a headline thing.

“We set out to win every game, home or away.

“Up until Millwall scored, there hadn’t been too much in the game.

“Declan Rudd had one shot to deal with, so for them to counter us in the way they did was disappointing.

“We’ve got to recover from this defeat and get our focus on playing Birmingham.

“If we could sort out the home form this weekend it would be good for everyone. We just need to find a way to win a game at home to get us going.”

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