Hughes encouraged by Southampton start

Ahead of his first game in charge of Southampton, new boss Mark Hughes says he likes what he has seen from his players so far.

Southampton's new manager Mark Hughes   -  Getty Images

Mark Hughes is happy with the improvement Southampton's players have demonstrated under his leadership ahead of the Welshman's first game in charge.

Hughes was appointed after Southampton sacked Mauricio Pellegrino following a run of one win in 17 Premier League fixtures.

But Hughes will start his tenure, having agreed a deal to the end of the season, with an FA Cup quarter-final away to Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

"We've been working for two days and I've been encouraged by what I've seen," former Stoke City boss Hughes told reporters. "I know we've got the talent here to get the job done.

"I've been in the Premier League a long time and won a lot of points. We're looking short term for now and that allows us to focus on the job at hand.

"The FA Cup has been very good to me and has always figured highly in my career. I have a great affinity with the competition.

"There's a real energy to the club, which I like. We're all pushing in the right direction and we need to confirm that by winning football matches."

Captain Steven Davis and Charlie Austin are unavailable for the Wigan tie but Hughes hopes to have the striker available soon.

"We've been speaking to Charlie over the last two days and he's really encouraged by how it's going," said Hughes of Southampton's top goalscorer.

"He's not going to be involved this weekend, but we feel we've got a chance of integrating him for short periods next week. If we can do that, we can speed up his progress.

"With a bit of luck, if we can get him ready for West Ham [on March 31] that's a massive positive."