In search of the League Two experience he needed to build his Boro’ defence, boss Teddy Sheringham turned to Mark Hughes in summer 2015. It made sense, or at least so it felt at the time; the defender coming to us with much first team action under his belt from time at both Morecambe and Northampton Town among others. But, for some reason, it wasn’t to be with us. He made just 20 appearances and a further two sub outings before he was out the door and on his way; probably to the relief of all concerned.
Mark Hughes: Before Boro’
Hughes spent two seasons with the Shrimps, appointed club captain on his arrival from Bury. He created a reputation for himself as a dogged and determined centre half with a never-say-die attitude; chipping in with goals every now and then on the side. By now, he knew his way around the lower rungs of the Football League ladder too; coming on nicely after starting his career with Premier League club and hometown club Everton.
He actually joined the Toffees as a fresh-faced seven-year-old and eventually became reserve team captain. But the first team proved a tough nut to crack. So, after a loan spell at Stockport County in 2006, Hughes made the move to Northampton Town in 2007 for an undisclosed fee; soon establishing himself at Sixfields. It was to be a fruitful two years with the Cobblers as far as first team action was concerned, but a move was on the horizon.
In 2009, Hughes decided to switch to League One club Walsall on a freebie and it seemed as if his one-year stay would be extended. But a chance to play in the Australian A-League came a-calling and he took the long trip Down Under to continue his career. It’s reported his services were much in demand during his time while at North Queensland Fury, but he stayed with the club and proved a hit. Fury’s demise, however, spelled the end of his time in Australia, with Bury bringing Hughes back to Blighty in League One.