Why NI’s Aaron Hughes is in no mood to hang the boots up

Northern Ireland veteran defender Aaron Hughes
Northern Ireland veteran defender Aaron Hughes

Northern Ireland legend Aaron Hughes has penned a new one year deal at Scottish Premier League side Hearts.

The centreback – Britain’s most capped defender after making 112 appearances for Northern Ireland – has signed on for season 2018/19 as Hearts look to push back up the Ladbrokes Premiership table.

The former Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Fulham star penned a year-long contract extension at the start of last season, and has made 35 appearances at Tynecastle to date.

Hughes had been thinking about retirement following Northern Ireland’s tour of Central America - but that would appear to be further from his mind.

Speaking to Hearts TV Hughes said “I needed a little bit of time to figure out if I was able to do another year, mentally and physically.

“I came to the decision that I’d like to stay on and I’m very grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity.

“When I say it was an easy decision, once I’d come to the decision to play, it wasn’t hard to have a chat with the gaffer and say I wanted to stay on.

“I’ve enjoyed my 18-months here immensely.

“The club has been great with me since I came back from abroad, so there was no hard decision to carry on after I knew that I could do.”

Meanwhile, Glenavon have signed striker Stephen Donnelly from Athletic Union League side Usher Celtic.

Boss Gary Hamilton had previously made a move for the 25-year-old in May 2017, but he opted to join Bohemians in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Donnelly hit 44 goals last season and was the Athletic Union League’s player of the year and top goalscorer.

The signing of Donnelly follows striker Marc Griffin’s departure from the Lurgan Blues for Warrenpoint Town.

“Stephen scored 44 goals last season, albeit at a lower standard, but you still have to score the goals,” said Hamilton.

“I watched him in two games recently and he scored a hat trick in both so he’s somebody who knows where the back of the net is.

“We’re hoping he’ll add goals to the team,” he added.