England Under-21 international Hughes – a player regularly linked with Premier League sides, including Liverpool, since making his debut in 2011 – admits he will have to fight to retain his place as Bradley Johnson and Jeff Hendrick look to win back their spots after recovering from injuries of their own.
“It will be difficult to consolidate my place in the first-team again,” Hughes told BBC Radio Derby.
“The way we are playing at the moment, we are doing well, momentum is on the up. It’s nice to get any minutes. Originally I wasn’t expected to play against this season.”