11:43am Friday 3rd January 2014
By Ashley Loveridge
FOREST Green boss Ady Pennock has pulled off a major transfer coup by swooping for former Premiership striker Lee Hughes on an 18-month deal.
The 37 year- old striker netted 10 goals to help Port Vale to promotion to League One after signing on a free transfer from Notts County in January, and has netted a further three this season.
The SNJ understands Pennock and assistant Dave Kevan met the former West Brom striker at the New Lawn yesterday to discuss terms.
Hughes was expected to train with his new team-mates at their Cirencester RAC headquarters today and is expected to make his Skrill Premier debut against Salisbury City at the New Lawn tomorrow, Saturday.
Kevan, who worked with Hughes at Notts County, insists Hughes has qualities both as a player and a personality.
"He's a fantastic finisher first of all," he said. "But he's played at the highest level, so he's more than that.
"He's a clever player whose movement is good, whose intelligence is good, who uses his body well and who uses his strength well.
"He plays with his brain and he's adapted his game as he has got older.”
Hughes is no stranger to Nailsworth after playing against Shortwood United in the FA Cup in November.
Vale manager Micky Adams explained the lure of first-team football prompted Hughes’ decision to leave.
He said: "We had a chat and Lee wants to play regular first-team football. Obviously with the emergence of Jordan Hugill we don't want to block that avenue to him.
"The thing is he wants to play regular football and I can't give him a regular place so he is joining Forest Green Rovers on an 18-month deal, which he is happy with.
"We wish him well and we thank him for his contribution since he has been here, not least of all his goals in the promotion-winning season and certainly the big highlight for me was his three goals against Burton.
"He is a fantastic kid, he's not what the perception of him is, he has been terrific and I wish him well. I have got great things to say about him."
Hughes started his career with non-league Kidderminster Harriers before winning a £350,000 move to boyhood heroes West Bromwich Albion in August 1997.
He finished as the Baggies' leading scorer for four seasons running, and a total of 86 goals in 155 starts earned him a £5m move to Coventry in 2001.
He returned to the Hawthorns just 12 months later for precisely half that figure, and though he couldn't prevent relegation, he helped West Brom bounce back to the top flight in 2004.
Hughes was jailed after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after a fatal crash in November 2003, eventually serving half of a six-year sentence before returning to football with Oldham Athletic in 2007.
A loan spell at Blackpool was followed by a switch to Notts County in July, 2009.
Hughes scored 30 times in the league as the club won the League Two title and finished with 67 goals in 113 starts for the Magpies.
See a selection of Lee Hughes' goals on link below.
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