HUGHES: SQUAD POWER CAN LIFT DERBY

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Bai­ley

DERBY County star­let Will Hughes be­lieves the in­flux of se­nior re­in­force­ments at Pride Park will be key to a pro­mo­tion push this sea­son.

Hughes is fresh from a break­through cam­paign, hav­ing played 38 times for the Rams and, at 17, be­com­ing the sec­ond youngest player to ap­pear for the Eng­land U21s in a friendly – against North­ern Ire­land last Novem­ber.

This year Rams boss Nigel Clough has bulked up his side with six new sign­ings – in­clud­ing mid­field en­forcer John Eus­tace, left-back Craig Forsyth and Scot­tish striker Johnny Rus­sell – and ex­pe­ri­ence ap­pears to be the watchword at Pride Park.

Hughes be­lieves hav­ing a deeper squad to draw form could be just the ticket for the Pre­mier League.

“Ev­ery­one wants to say we’re look­ing to go up and in many as­pects that’s a re­al­is­tic ob­jec­tive,” said 18-year-old Hughes.

“The play­ers we’ve brought in, the likes of Craig and Johnny, gives us com­pe­ti­tion for places that per­haps we didn’t have last year – that’s healthy.

“The ad­di­tion of John Eus­tace will be vi­tal be­cause I think we need that sort of player to close games out if we’re win­ning away from home which I don’t think we had the ex­pe­ri­ence of last sea­son.

“Ev­ery­one’s set­tled in re­ally well, there’s a fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment around the club and they’ve just added to it.

“They’re re­ally nice lads and as we’ve seen dur­ing pre-sea­son, they are good foot­ballers as well.”

CON­FI­DENT: Hughes

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