Hughes full of praise for City's travelling army
Stephen Hughes says Norwich City fans are a valuable asset in the promotion campaign. More than 2,000 travelling fans nestled into a corner of St Mary's, swelling the attendance to the fifth biggest in the Football League and way beyond anything else in League One on Saturday.
Stephen Hughes says Norwich City fans are a valuable asset in the promotion campaign.
More than 2,000 travelling fans nestled into a corner of St Mary's, swelling the attendance to the fifth biggest in the Football League and way beyond anything else in League One on Saturday.
They saw a humdinger of a game, with Hughes earning City a point minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute.
"It was brilliant," said Hughes. "The fans were brilliant today, they were behind us right from the start and when we get them on our side then it is, especially at home, like an extra man. It was a great effort from them today, especially with the weather - I thought they were brilliant."
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Hughes had them dancing in the aisles after his 75th-minute equaliser - a goal which will enhance his claims to elbow his way into manager Paul Lambert's starting line-up.
Lambert admits the team picks itself at the moment, but Hughes' second goal in five starts puts him at the head of the queue of those in waiting.
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"It's probably my first touch and I managed to hit the back of the net," said Hughes, signed in the summer as free agent after leaving Motherwell. "I'm delighted - delighted obviously to get the point.
"All I can keep doing is working hard in training and when I get a chance like today try and play well. Obviously when I get a goal it can help a bit. It's a big squad and there's good competition for places and the confidence is high as well.
"The team has been playing really well - there are a lot of players who need to bide their time, but it doesn't take anything away from it, we are all wanting to play and I am no different. But it's good I got on and getting the goal was ideal."
Hughes' goal could easily have ended other matches, but both teams pushed for a winner.
"It was end to end, both teams went for it," he said. "Even the last 10 minutes both teams were trying to get the three points, but I think a draw was a fair result.
"We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and we know if we go behind we have got players in the team that can score goals and that was it today - we went behind twice and came back, we showed good character.
"Every game is completely different - Southampton are a good team, they are a big club and obviously with the points deduction at the start of the season they are probably in a false position. But for us to come down here and play the way we played I thought we did well and it was a good point in the end."
City are unbeaten in their last six games - four in the league - and remain in fifth, with just one point covering the four play-off positions.
"That is very important for us that we keep it going," added Hughes. "We've not been beaten a lot, it is important for us to come away to clubs like Southampton and if we don't get the three points we make sure we get a good point.
"Then we can go back up the road and look forward to Tuesday's game against Brighton."