The talented young midfielder picked up a knee injury during the club’s opening game of the season against Bolton, which required surgery and leaves him out of action for an extended period of time.
Clement has confirmed that he’s spoken to the player following his operation and has encouraged him to try and find a way to focus on something positive as he looks ahead to the future point where he can return to action.
“I spoke to him and, naturally, he’s disappointed and down because this is a new thing for him,” he told dcfc.co.uk.
“He will be missed but he is young and will come back stronger from this, both mentally and physically.”
“While he is out he can use the opportunity to build his body up strong and refocus.”
A difficult challenge
The physical side of things is something Hughes can work hard on as soon as he’s allowed to start his recovery and work his way back towards full fitness.
The more pressing issue is how Hughes deals with a difficult challenge of coping with things mentally.
He’s still a very young man and has got used to playing a high ratio of games at a top level and this is a serious setback, which creates an abrupt halt to the progression he’s been making in his career.
What’s encouraging is that Clement seems to have already acted in that area, taking a proactive approach to talk to and reassure a very important player for the football club.