'I think we can stay up there' - Bury Town striker Hughes
PUBLISHED: 14:00 22 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:00 22 October 2019
Bury Town soared to the top of the Isthmian League North over the weekend, thanks to a hard-earned 2-1 win at Suffolk rivals Felixstowe & Walton United.
The Blues were helped by former leaders, Maldon & Tiptree, being pleasantly distracted by FA Cup action - the Jammers won 3-1 at Royston to reach the first round proper - and fellow high-fliers Grays Athletic losing 3-1 at Great Wakering Rovers.
But Bury have sent out a bold statement, following a bright start that has yielded six wins from nine matches, with just one defeat, and club stalwart Hughes has been leading the way by banging in the goals.
"We have gone top, and we have given ourselves a chance this year," insisted Hughes, who has been at Ram Meadow since the summer of 2015.
"I know that Maldon & Tiptree have games in hand, but all you can do is win the games that are put in front of you.
"In my first season at the club, we started really strongly and were on top at a certain stage of the season, at about this time, but we haven't done that for a few years.
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"It makes a difference, starting strong, rather than looking up the table and trying to play catch-up, which it what is was like last year when it was very difficult with the top five teams being relentless, winning games every week. We weren't about to close the gap, despite winning games ourselves.
"It's a good statement to be top at this stage, and mentally it's a great feeling in the changing room at the moment.
"Furthermore, I think we can stay up there.
"It's a difficult period for us, with some tough games coming up to Christmas, against teams in and around us. We need to make sure we don't get beat, then we can reassess it after Christmas," added Hughes, who has been Bury's player-of-the-year for three seasons on the trot.
Hughes netted Bury's second at Felixstowe, with an opportunist effort from a free-kick routine.
"It took an age to go in," admitted Hughes. "The free-kick came flying across, and I just reacted a little bit late really, but it was an instinctive finish.
"It was in the air for an eternity, but thankfully the goalie had already planted his foot the other way, so he couldn't really get back to get across to it.
"The team played well in patches. It wasn't a typical Bury Town display, but we showed a different dimension - we rolled up our sleeves and got the job done."