The Rams youngster got an hour under his belt for the Under-21s on Monday.
Hughes suffered a cruciate ligament injury on the opening day of the campaign at Bolton Wanderers, but played 60 minutes for Rory Delap's side during a 1-0 win against Fulham.
First competitive game back after 8 months...nice to get 60 minutes under the belt and get the victory— Will Hughes (@wjhughes19) 4 April 2016
Offrande Zanzala's strike was the difference at Craven Cottage, to leave Derby just a win away from promotion from the Barclays U21 Premier League Division 2.
Darren Wassall's senior side are also chasing promotion to the top flight, but is Hughes set to aid the Rams' push?
“We will see how the next week goes, but the aim for me is to step this up further next week when the Under 21s face Arsenal at the iPro Stadium,” Hughes told dcfc.co.uk.
“I feel fit, I feel strong, and I just want to keep progressing.”
Arsenal are the only team who can catch Delap's men, adding more pressure to Monday's fixture.
Hughes, who appeared in Shaun Barker's Testimonial game last weekend, admitted feeling fitter than he thought he would during his run-out in the capital.
Assuming he plays against the Gunners, Hughes would have five opportunities to make his first-team comeback before the regular season is out.
The Rams slipped to sixth in the Championship after Saturday's defeat at Cardiff City, who are now only two points behind in the race for the play-offs.