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I'm excited to help Larne scale the heights, says returning favourite Hughes

 

By Ian Cahoon

Jeff Hughes has become the latest big name signing at Inver Park as the Larne revolution gathers pace.

The 32-year-old Tranmere Rovers midfielder flew into the country yesterday to put pen to paper on a pre-contract with his hometown club.

He will join a number of high-profile players who have already become part of Tiernan Lynch's set-up, after an investment from Purple Bricks chief Kenny Bruce.

Hughes, however, is the biggest name so far to throw his lot in with the club he left for full-time football 13 years ago.

"I've been speaking to Tiernan on and off now for a couple of months and it's a dream to be able to come home," Hughes said.

"I haven't been as excited as this to sign for someone for a long time. It means a lot to me to come home to my hometown club and it's the club I supported as a boy.

"I was supposed to sit down this week to discuss a new contract with Tranmere, but I informed our manager (Micky Mellon) that it was my intention to come home.

"They have wished me well and want me to go out on a high with them until the end of the season and try to help them get back into the Football League."

Hughes believes he still has unfinished business with club he left as a 19-year-old.

His final game for Larne was the 2005 Irish Cup final, which they lost 5-1 to Portadown. Hughes left shortly afterwards for Lincoln City, before going on to play for Crystal Palace, Bristol Rovers, Notts County, Fleetwood Town and Cambridge United.

"I still have the picture of me standing with my medal, close to tears, on the pitch at Windsor after that game," Hughes, capped twice for Northern Ireland, said.

"It would be nice to right that wrong and help the club to progress to where they want to go.

"When you speak to Tiernan, you realise they want to get to a very professional standard at the club, it's not just a token effort.

"Hopefully because I've been doing that for my whole career, I can help to bring that with me."

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