If anybody knows what it takes to get over the finishing line in the UCL Premier Division, it’s Holbeach United midfielder Rob Hughes.
The talented former Nottingham Forest ace was part of the St Neots Town side that won the title in 2011 and also enjoyed promotion with King’s Lynn Town last year.
He’s at it again this season, as part of the Holbeach squad that’s a healthy nine points clear at the top with just seven games to go.
And while he admits St Neots and the Linnets may have had more talented indiviudals, Hughes feels the Tigers have the edge on his former sides when it comes to team spirit.
“It’s hard to compare us to St Neots and King’s Lynn,” said the playmaker. “It’s a very different feeling with Holbeach.
“There are no cliques of two or three players here, we’re a group of 16 friends – and it’s pretty crazy to be a part of.
“When we score a goal or win a game here, you can see that everybody celebrates.
“It’s a proper squad and nobody sulks when they’re on the bench or subbed off.”
Having made the switch from higher-graded Lynn early in the season, Hughes has been a key cog in the well-drilled Holbeach machine.
He’s bagged a number a vital goals, including a dramatic late winner against Yaxley and a sensational 50-yard effort against Eynesbury in the League Cup.
When boss John Chand made his pitch to sign him,Hughes revealed that a top three finish was the target. But now he’ll settle for nothing but the league title.
“Only finishing in the top three just wouldn’t cut it now,” added the midfielder. “The table doesn’t lie and we’re deservedly top – even if St Ives and Spalding win their games in hand.
“It’s amazing that we’ve not lost in the league since Christmas and I think anything other than winning the league would be a disappointment from here. If anyone had offered us this position we’d have been delighted.”
Hughes is gutted to be missing the crucial Easter away double-header against in-form Huntingdon Town (Saturday, 3pm) and rivals Spalding United (Monday, 3pm) as he jets off on holiday.
And he’s warned his team-mates to expect two tough tests. Hughes added: “Ourselves and Huntingdon are probably the two form teams in the division and Spalding will always be a big threat.
“Spalding have the ability to win all of their remaining games and they’re still very much in the title race.”