The former Manchester City and Southampton boss took plenty of people by surprise when he was named as manager of League Two side Bradford City last month – his first job since 2018
Mark Hughes knew he had a big job on his hands when he took up the Bradford City job.
It was his first post since 2019 but his first couple of games in the hotseat have shown Hughes just how much work he has on his hands.
Saturday saw Bradford lose 2-1 at home to Swindon Town – Jack Payne netting a 96th minute penalty to inflict a second successive defeat on Hughes, after a reversal at home to Mansfield seven days prior.
Earlier this week the Welshman spoke about how he sometimes was “scratching his head” at some left-field appointments whilst he remained out of work.
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Speaking to the Official EFL podcast, Hughes was asked if he was expecting job offers from higher up the footballing pyramid.
“Yeah, I was if I’m honest,” said the 58-year-old.
“I think sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s very much who you know in this business sometimes and it’s your connections and your network and maybe possibly at the top end, I did exhaust my network to a certain extent and I wasn’t getting the opportunity or even getting a conversation.
“I was always of the opinion that if you get me in the room, then I’ll convince people that it makes sense.
“For a long time, I wasn’t even getting a conversation. Then I’d see the appointments that were actually made, and was scratching my head in some cases.
“But you have to accept that that that’s football business works sometimes. I was quite prepared to wait a little bit longer, but I think the timing is key as well because it gives me an opportunity to have a look at the squad and work with the group I’ve got at the moment.
“And then I can make decisions based on what I see from now to the end of the season. I’m hoping to get some momentum from now to the end of the season and we can take that into next year.”
Bradford’s latest loss leaves them 15 points adrift of the League Two play-off spots and Hughes’ comments are perhaps telling in that the number one aim of promotion may well have to wait until next season.
Whilst the Bantams are not expected to be dragged into a relegation fight this term – they are nine points clear of second-bottom Oldham – Hughes will be eager to get a few wins under his belt to mathematically stave off such a threat.
The fixtures do not get much easier however, with runaway leaders Forest Green Rovers next on the agenda.
On his appearance in the podcast Hughes was also asked if the move to West Yorkshire represents a gamble.
He answered honestly, saying: “Other people have to decide that.
“If I’m not successful, people might say I’m a busted flush and that’s the end of it.
“I wasn’t prepared to just walk off into the sunset and not have a go. This game is very quick to retire you before your time and I’d like to have the option to retire myself from the game and not the other way around.”