SAM HUGHES insists he is fully focused on life at Chester having been left ‘frustrated’ with how the transfer window panned out.
The highly-rated 19-year-old was subject of a bid from Championship club Barnsley last month, but the Blues rejected a ‘substantial offer’, with chief executive Mark Maguire adamant the deal wouldn’t have represented value for money for the National League outfit.
Maguire added Chester would be confident of achieving a higher figure than Barnsley offered at a tribunal if the Wirral-born defender opts to leave in the summer.
Academy product Hughes, whose displays at centre-back this season have seen him scouted by the likes of Aston Villa and Wolves, explained he was disappointed at not being allowed the chance to speak to Barnsley, but fully accepts the Blues’ reasons for rejecting the offer.
“These things happen in football. I was aware there were a couple of clubs looking at me and then Barnsley made a bid, but at the end of the day it wasn’t meant to be,” he explained. “It didn’t happen for whatever reasons and I’ve got to get my head down now and focus on playing here.
“It’s frustrating at the same time because everyone wants to achieve the most they can and play as high as they can. That’s not just in football it’s in anything they do. But as I touched on before, it wasn’t meant to be, it didn’t happen.
“That frustration has to be put to one side now, it’s happened. I’ve got to kick on and get back in the team.
“My only focus now is to get back into this team, that window has gone now, the transfer window has shut and what is meant to be, is meant to be. I hold nothing against anyone, they’ve done what’s best for the club and it’s now time for me to get back into the team and get back to where I was before the injury.”
Hughes made his reappearance as a 75th minute replacement for Evan Horwood in Chester’s trip to Dagenham and Redbridge at the weekend, but couldn’t prevent the Blues shipping twice late on to go down to a 3-2 defeat, and slip to 12th in the table after a run of one win in seven matches.
“Obviously to lose the game in the end is difficult to take considering how well we played during the game,” continued Hughes, who has missed the past month of action with an ankle injury.
“To go 2-1 up in the second-half, it’s frustrating and disappointing not to win, but we’ve somehow got to get over it now and go again.
“It was definitely good to get back out there. It’s been frustrating being injured, I missed four games and it’s difficult, I don’t like sitting there watching the team play while I’m not out on the pitch but that’s part and parcel of football, you get injuries now and then.
“Hopefully now I can work my way back into the starting line-up. I felt fine out there, I’d never risk coming back early or unfit, I wanted to make sure I was 100 per cent fit before I stepped back out, so I’m fully fit.”
Next on the agenda for Jon McCarthy’s side is a televised home clash with Gateshead on Saturday (12.15pm, BT Sport) and Hughes is looking to avenge the 3-0 defeat the Blues suffered at the Gateshead International Stadium on the opening day of the campaign.
“It’s a massive game, especially with it being on TV, we want to show people what we’re about,” he added.
“We’ve had two defeats on the run now, two tough games that we possibly should’ve won.
“Gateshead is going to be tough for us, we played them first game of the season and it was a tough defeat.
“But I always fancy us at home, we’ve got a good record so I’d like to think we can take the three points.
“That was disappointing first game of the season but we’ve come a long way since then. No one expected us to be where we’ve been in the table, in and around the top five.
“We’re on a bit of a blip at the minute but every team has these spells. We’ll come through it. We’ve got big games to come against big teams and we’re looking forward to them and let’s hope we can put a good performance in against Gateshead.”
- Ross Killock, who has missed three months with injury, came through 90 minutes yesterday as Chester lost 2-1 against The New Saints in a behind-closed-doors friendly. Will Marsh was on the scoresheet, with Jordan Chapell also returning from a back injury.