Charlie Hughes speaks of huge Wigan Athletic 'frustration' - and added motivation for return

Charlie Hughes admits he'll be doubly determined to make a successful return to the Wigan Athletic fold this weekend after the huge 'frustration' of his sending-off against Barnsley.
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The 19-year-old was red-carded during the opening quarter of the 2-0 home defeat to Barnsley on August 26 for a 'last-man' foul on former Latics striker Devante Cole.

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Despite Hughes appearing to win the ball, Latics were then unsuccessful in their appeal against the decision, which saw the defender suspended for the 2-1 loss at Blackpool the following weekend.

Charlie Hughes has a point to prove as he returns from suspension this weekendCharlie Hughes has a point to prove as he returns from suspension this weekend
Charlie Hughes has a point to prove as he returns from suspension this weekend
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Having had three weeks to stew on the incident, Hughes has no shortage of motivation ahead of his comeback for Saturday's visit of Cambridge.

"It's always frustrating when you're sent off, especially with the result we got (against Barnsley)," he said.

"Not just for me, it was also frustrating for the team, because we hadn't lost up until that point.

"Blackpool was also frustrating, because I wasn't on the pitch, and not able to help the team where I could.

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"At the same time, I was able to see how the lads are without me, what I can be doing to get back in the team, and how I can make an impact."

Both Hughes and manager Shaun Maloney were left stunned at the decision of the appeal committee to uphold the red card awarded by referee Sebastian Stockbridge.

"I strongly thought I won the ball at the time, and you could see that on the images we saw," Hughes said.

"The gaffer's opinion was exactly the same as mine, and we thought we had a strong case.

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"Unfortunately, the appeal was unsuccessful, and I have to make sure I'm ready to bounce back on Saturday.

"Sometimes you need a little bit of luck in football, and luck definitely wasn't on my side on that day.

"Maybe with the new rules, and the way referees are interpreting them, you have to be even more careful.

"But at the same time, sometimes you have to make a challenge to keep your team in a game, and I'll never be afraid to make that same challenge again."

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With Hughes leaving such huge boots to fill during his absence, it's hard to believe he only made his league debut as recently as last Boxing Day, at Middlesbrough.

He quickly became an established member of the first-team squad, and signed a long-term contract extension in February this year until the summer of 2027.

And his remarkable progress was recognised again in June, when he penned an even longer extension, for a further 12 months.

"It's been a bit of a rollercoaster year for me, to be fair," added Hughes, who spent time as a junior with Liverpool and Manchester City before joining Latics in 2017 as an Under-14.

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"But I'm happy with the way things are going for me and the team on the whole.

"The gaffer and the lads have a real belief that we can achieve what we want to achieve this season, and fingers crossed we can do that."