The 29-year-old put in an assured display on the left side of PNE’s back three in the 1-0 win at Hull City – that a third clean sheet in four games for Lowe’s outfit.
Hughes was the width of the woodwork away from scoring in the MKM Stadium clash, a header in the first half coming back off the bar.
North End manager Lowe said: “There were times in the Hull game when he was fast bringing the ball out.
“Hughesy is a great pro, for me he is a top-quality left-sided centre-back.
“He steps in at the right time, controls the ball at the right time, defends at the right time, he heads it and kicks it.
“Hughesy is a good lad to work with. I’ve said from day one here that we want to take the shackles off players who have been used to playing other styles.
“If the lads continue to follow the style and philosophy, they will keep getting better and keep growing into it.
“At Hull, I thought Hughesy was fantastic, as were the rest of them.”
Hughes, who signed a new two-year contract in January, has made 30 starts in league and cup this season.
He’s only missed two of the games since Lowe’s arrival, through injury in the FA Cup against Cardiff and then the defeat at Swansea as he was serving a one-game suspension for a red card.
In the main, Hughes, Sepp van den Berg and Patrick Bauer have formed the back three under Lowe.
He did change it for last week’s 0-0 draw at Millwall, with Liam Lindsay replacing Bauer who got a breather on the bench.
Lowe says he will rotate to keep the side fresh, with him mindful that Wednesday night’s clash with Huddersfield is the fourth midweek on the bounce they have played.
Said Lowe: “We made three changes at Hull, Alan Browne, Patrick Bauer and Cameron Archer came back in.
“If we need to change it to freshen things up we will do, no problem.
“We’ve got a good squad here with lads who want to play and get their chance.
“Liam Lindsay came in out of the blue at Millwall and did a fantastic job.
“At Hull we brought Brad Potts off because he felt out on his feet.
“For the sake of the team and the lads, I’ll change when I think it is needed.”