sport

Hughes holds top-tier hope

Aaron Hughes believes that in joining Brighton & Hove Albion he has linked up with a side surging towards the Premier League.

Not only does the veteran defender believe that Brighton can make that step up in the near future, he feels they are capable of holding their own among the elite and consolidating at the top level.

Hughes has penned a one-year deal at the Amex Stadium in the hope of helping the club to hit that lofty target.

Play-off defeats have been suffered in each of the last two seasons, with getting over the promotion line in the Sky Bet Championship proving to be a something of a problem.

Hughes is, however, convinced that the potential is there and that in former Bayer Leverkusen boss Sami Hyypia, Brighton have the right man at the helm to guide them forward.

The 34-year-old Northern Ireland international, who had other options to consider after leaving Queens Park Rangers, told the Argus: \"This is a club that is set up to get into the Premier League - it has the players to do it and they have come close the last couple of years.

"With the manager here, who has impressed in Germany, I just get the feel it is going to be a good year for the club and I thought I would like to be a part of something.

"I was out of contract at QPR so I was a free agent and waiting to see what came up and this did, and it was a good opportunity for me to get back in playing football.

"I had a couple of things on the table and I was having a good think about what direction I wanted to go in at this stage of my career, being a little bit older now and more experienced.

"I just had to get a feel for what I wanted to do and I would love to get back into the Premier League again and I saw this as an opportunity to do that, and not only go up but stay up."