Preston North End defender knows every man counts this season and is looking to avenge Luton Town loss

Andrew Hughes knows that every player in the Preston North End sqaud will be needed at their best this season after he was able to put his feet up in midweek.
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The centre half was rested in favour of Greg Cunningham for the 4-1 win over Huddserfiel Town in Yorkshire as North End put in their best performance of the season with six changes made to the side.

Hughes is a regular on the left side of the back three but was left jealous on the bench watching on as North End turned on the style.

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Down that side, Alvaro Fernandez started the game at wing back, coming in for his first start, and was one of the best performers on the night.

Andrew Hughes in action at Deepdale.Andrew Hughes in action at Deepdale.
Andrew Hughes in action at Deepdale.

With the increase in squad depth it’s anyone’s guess to Hughes as to what starting XI boss Ryan Lowe will go with.

Hughes said: “It was a good rest! I wish I'd have played in that game now to be honest but it was a great game.

"Alvaro was unbelievable, you can't say any of them were not unbelievable. He and Robbie offer slightly different aspects to their game.

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"Those two assists for Alvaro will be a great confidence boost for him. I think he's fine with his injury now so we'll see what happens on Saturday.

"I don't know who the manager is going to go with - it could be a toss of a coin, who knows. There's great competition in the squad, it's what you want.

"Over the course of the season everyone is going to need to stand up and be counted.

"The manager said after the game that he doesn't care who's playing as long as we're churning out performances like that and getting results - everyone is on their toes.

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"It's been a positive start, for me, I think we should be sat in a better position point-wise. Unfortunately we're not but we've got another chance to put it right on Saturday.”

Hughes has been one of the most consistent players in the North End side for the past few season, finding a new lease of life as a left centre back in a back three initially under Frankie McAvoy.

He has not looked back and is now one of the first names on the teamsheet at Deepdale.

But when it comes to finding that secret for success in his new role, and maintaining it, it turns out there is not too much in it for the 30-year-old.

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He was also quick to praise his defensive partners, who have kept two clean sheets in two Championship games so far.

He said: “I don't really know, I just go out there and give my all every game. I try not to take stupid risks in stupid areas to put yourself in unnecessary positions really.

"Jordan Storey was on loan last year and I think he's got off to a great start this season and he's settled back in really well. We all knew he was a great player, going out on loan has probably done him the world of good confidence-wise too.

"He's more than ready now to come in at Preston and do a great job here. We all know Liam Lindsay is a great player as well.

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"Freddie speaks for himself. He's been at some great clubs and done it there, we're all capable enough to go out and do it for Preston.

"As a defence, the two clean sheets have given us confidence. Hopefully scoring four goals the other day gives the boys at the top end some confidence and then come Saturday hopefully it's the same again.

"It's tough in training but it's the best thing for us. If you're coming up against tough opposition then it means you're preparing right for the game on Saturday. You don't want to have an easy training session.”

With such performances from the Welshman it is only natural to think of the next step for him, international attention.

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Wales squads often feature players from outside the top flight, and even the Championship, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the 30-year-old’s form should bring him into the reckoning.

It is not somehting at the forefront of his mind however, instead focusing on his football in Lancashire.

He said: “I don't really think about it so much anymore. I haven't got close to it for a while, I'm just concentrating on my football here now.

"I'm not sure if that ship's sailed or they've lost my name somewhere! I don't really think about it to be honest.”

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This weekend’s trip to Luton Town will still be fresh in the memory of many connected with North End. A 4-0 defeat at a wet Kenilworth Road in March was one of the lowest points of Lowe’s reign so far, with the fans being refunded for the trip.

It will be used as motivation this week, as will PNE’s own win this week.

Hughes said: “We're playing them at a good time on the back of the win. I'm sure in the back of everyone's mind it will be a sore one from last time so everyone will be ultra eager to put it right.

"We know what Luton are about, they do play some long balls and they do get in your face. It will be hard at times to play but we just need to prepare for what's coming.”