New signing Lee Hughes lays down Forest Green play-off marker

2:57pm Friday 10th January 2014

By Ashley Loveridge

LEE Hughes believes Forest Green can make a late surge into the play-offs and insists his nous will prove beneficial to Ady Pennock’s side.

The Nailsworth outfit were forced to share the spoils last night after Marcus Kelly’s seventh goal of the season was eclipsed by a Chris Bush howitzer in front of BT Sports TV cameras. Rovers’ Dale Bennett’s was shown a red card-for dissent-in stoppage time.

The one-time £5million striker enjoyed a solid but unspectacular debut- a wipe-out of a photographer being his first half highlight, but the former Premiership ace found his feet after the break with a sublime piece of skill that saw him waltz  in from the left to curl a strike, which kissed the crossbar.

The wily 37-year-old gleaned nothing, but positives from his first 90 minutes and confidently predicted Rovers have what it takes to reach the dizzy heights of the play-off lottery.

He said: “ I went to Port Vale and we got promoted and played for Notts County a few years back when we were outside the play-offs,Steve Cotterill came in and we lost one in 18 games and became champions.

“I know that’s a long way away, but points are up for grabs and I see no reason why we can’t make it. “I’ve looked at our away form and it isn’t that great, but if we can tighten up away and get a few more points on the board, I see no reason why we can’t mount a challenge.”

Rovers spurned two guilt-edged chances to put the game to bed inside the first 15 minutes with Danny Wright placing a header wide and Marcus Kelly going close, but Hughes insists he can help his new team-mates make more of their opportunities.

“I wish I had a couple of those chances, but hopefully I can help the lads and they can relax in front of goal and learn off me,” he said.

“We got the ball down and tried to play the right football and got forward and got the ball into the box.

“I felt we started the first half and second half well and we were unlucky not to get three points. “We can take plenty of positives out of the game, which we can work on over the next few days in time for the match against Grimsby on Tuesday.”

Kidderminster-based Hughes has bonded quickly with his new team-mates and is part of the car school that features Midlands trio Jared Hodgkiss, Reece Styche and Paul Green.

He added: “Everyone has made me feel welcome at the club and the lads are a really good bunch.”

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