Hughes ready to kick on after comeback hat-trick

Ipswich Town youngster Tommy Hughes.

Tommy Hughes scored a hat-trick for the Under-23s following a near two-year absence through injury. Photo: Ipswich Town - Credit: Ipswich Town FC

Tommy Hughes has his sights on finishing the season strongly after making a dream comeback for Ipswich Town's Under-23s on Monday.

In what was his first start following almost two years out through injury, the 21-year-old academy graduate scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win against QPR at Playford Road. 

"Without the goals, I would have been happy just to be out on the pitch," he told the club website. "I’ve worked so hard over the past month, so I knew I was ready to play.

"To keep coming back, breaking down and going through hip surgery, and then being able to return; I’m just so happy to be back.

"There are a few people I need to thank; obviously my mum and how she’s been dealing with me. When I came home I was sometimes down or sometimes happy and she’s handled me really well.

"Alice (Grindrod), who was the club’s player care officer and is now working with the first-team, she has been absolutely brilliant for me; helping me every day and getting me through it.

"My friends and family have all been around me. Kieron (Dyer) had his injury problems in his own career so he’s been a really good mentor for me to speak to. The physios, sports science guys, Bryan (Klug); there are so many people that have helped me."

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Before his injuries, Hughes made three sub appearances for Town's first team in cup competitions during 2019.

Due to be out of contract in the summer, his aim now is to catch the eye for Dyer's men during the remainder of this campaign. 

Town's U23s have won twice since action recently resumed and currently sit third in the Professional Development League South table.

"It's been brilliant for the lads since we've come back after Christmas," said Hughes. "Hopefully we can get into the playoffs like we have for the past few years."