The 20-year-old midfielder has virtually missed the Rams' entire Championship campaign after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury on the opening day of the season.
He did, however, step up his recovery on Thursday night by playing 45 minutes of Shaun Barker's testimonial at the iPro Stadium.
“Will has looked good in training and he’s been doing that for several weeks now," Wassall said to County's official site. “It was great to see him back on the pitch on Thursday and a real positive for us to have him in a game situation.
“Will has been involved in everything in the last few weeks and it’s fantastic to have him back in and amongst it. We were all really excited to see him come through the Shaun Barker Testimonial and it’s a real boost for everybody.
“He is a talented midfield player so it’s very pleasing to think we’re going to have him back.”
Hughes's return might just prove key for Derby as they bid to consolidate a playoff spot at the bare minimum.
Wassall's boys sit fifth in the Championship table, five points clear of seventh-placed Cardiff City, but seven adrift of second-placed Brighton & Hove Albion.
It is looking increasingly likely that, if Derby are to win promotion, it will need to come via the playoffs, but having a player of Hughes's calibre could come in very handy indeed as they chase a first top-flight return since 2008.