BRYAN HUGHES will get a chance to exact revenge on the team that ended his and Wrexham’s FA Cup dream 22 years ago.

The 42-year-old came through the ranks at The Racecourse and made his name for Brian Flynn’s side in the world-famous competition during the 1996-97 season.

Hughes scored in the 1-1 third round draw against Premier League side West Ham United - Wrexham won the replay 1-0 - and also netted in the 3-1 victory over Birmingham to set up a trip to Chesterfield in the quarter-finals.

But that’s where the run came to an end as Chesterfield edged the all-Division Two affair, Chris Beaumont capitalising on a defensive mix-up to take the Spireites through.

That proved to be Hughes’ last game for Wrexham as days later he completed a £1million move to Birmingham.

“It was a sad day in the end,” said Hughes. “It was my last game for the club and a horrible way to go out of the FA Cup.

“But it was a memorable season and a great run in the cup.”

Hughes recalls that last eight meeting at Saltergate where Chesterfield’s reward was a semi-final showdown with Middlesbrough, who won 3-0 at the second attempt after the initial tie finished in a 3-3 draw, which saw the Division Two side have a goal controversially ruled out.

“It was the first time we went into a game as favourites and it was a tight affair,” said Hughes.

“It could have gone either way.

“You could hear a pin drop in the dressing room after the game, everyone was so disappointed.

“A couple of days later I signed for Birmingham but I have got fond memories of that year.”

Hughes went on to win promotion to the Premier League with Birmingham and also played in the top-flight for Charlton and Hull.

The 42-year-old has returned to where it all began following his appointment as Wrexham manager and has enjoyed a superb start to life in the Racecourse hotseat.

The Reds haven’t lost in four games since he took charge and are top of the National League.

The promotion challenge continues against Chesterfield on Saturday and a win will not only keep Wrexham in title contention but go some way to making up for that cup heartbreak at the hands of the Spireites.

“The way we went out was disappointing,” said Hughes.

“It could have been us but you have got to give Chesterfield credit, they gave a good account of themselves against Middlesbrough.

“I want to try and get over the mood of losing to Chesterfield all those years ago and as a manager now, there is no better way than winning on Saturday.”

Hughes, appointed the Reds’ third manager of the season after Graham Barrow and Sam Ricketts, can expect a bumper crowd for the visit of Chesterfield, the first of 11 games in the final two months of the campaign.

“We are top of the league and there to be caught,” added Hughes.

“We need the fans right behind us and hopefully the good form will continue to the end of the season.”