BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
AARON HUGHES has hinted he could be ready for an extended stay at Hearts by insisting he already feels at home in Edinburgh.
The Northern Ireland stalwart enjoyed a nomadic two years prior to joining the Jambos, turning out for Melbourne City in the A-League before starring for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League.
However, Hughes made a conscious decision to pen a deal closer to his family home in Newcastle in January, signing a short-term contract with the Tynecastle outfit.
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro has made no secret of his desire to build his back-line around the experienced defender next term, recently confirming “we are looking into keeping him for next season”.
And Hughes is adamant he is content in the capital.
“I’ve no regrets whatsoever about coming to Hearts,” said Hughes. “I had a good feeling about the move and that hasn’t changed one bit.
“I had never actually been to Edinburgh so my first visit was just before the New Year. I’d come back from India not long before, and was in Newcastle waiting to see what would happen. I thought I would get away for a few days and decided to come to Edinburgh for a look around.
“I ended up meeting Ian [Cathro] for a chat and the I spoke to Austin [MacPhee, assistant head coach]. The, before I knew it, about four days later, it was decided that I’d be coming here. I was delighted.
“I’d moved around a little bit in recent years and the idea of getting the family settled was at the forefront of my mind. It’s a nice city, a good environment, so it was an easy decision.”
Hughes has been plagued by a persistent calf strain and has not featured since the Jambos’ Scottish Cup exit to Hibs in February, nevertheless the capital club remain hopeful he will feature again this term.
“It has been a frustrating period for me recently due to my injury,” Hughes told Hearts matchday magazine. “But I’ve still enjoyed coming in and working with everyone here.”