ACCRINGTON Stanley defender Mark Hughes admitted he had interest from other clubs over the summer but never wanted to leave the Wham Stadium.

The 31-year-old has signed an improved one-year deal with a one-year club option ahead of the new League One season and said he never considered leaving the club.

Hughes impressed at the heart of the Stanley defence as the Reds secured the fourth tier title last season with his performances earning him a spot in the League Two team of the season.

That prompted a number of calls about his availability, direct to Hughes as the Stanley man does not have an agent, but leaving East Lancashire never crossed his mind.

“I had a couple of enquiries over the summer but I wasn’t interested, I can’t envisage being anywhere else other than Accrington for the rest of my career, I enjoy it too much,” said Hughes.

“It is always nice to know that you have had a good season and that people are enquiring for you but I wanted to stay here.

“People rang me up and asked about my situation but straight away I said no.”

And Hughes, who is expected to be part of the squad for the visit of Middlesbrough tomorrow, is relishing the chance to strut his stuff in the third tier next term, with the new season just two weeks away.

He added: “The club gets the best out of me and I am looking forward to the challenge of League One. It sounds weird but I think it will suit the way we play better.

“We also have the momentum and you do find that teams who get promoted carry on the winning habit into the new season.

“We aren’t here to make up numbers. We aren’t here just to survive and finish fifth from bottom, we want to finish as high as possible and we have played, and beaten, a number of the teams in League One in the past and we have nothing to fear.”

Stanley have kept together the core of last season’s squad, losing just goalkeeper Aaron Chapman, and Hughes believes that will help the Reds hit the ground running.

He added: “You can see we have been together for a while, we are like a well-oiled machine and we are all on the same page.

“It is a good place to be at the moment.”