Will Hughes says his time out with a hamstring injury “felt like a season” after marking his return with an assist in Watford’s vital 1-0 win over West Brom.

A hamstring complaint picked up in defeat against Manchester United kept the midfielder out for three months.

The injury came just as the former Derby man was beginning to establish himself as a first team regular, making his return to the fold on Saturday all the sweeter.

“It’s been a long time,” he told the club website. “I know it’s [only] been three months, but it’s felt like a season to me.

“Especially as I was getting in the team, doing well, and then you get injured – that’s football for you, but I’ve fought my way back, and luckily I got onto the pitch again today.

“To be involved was a nice feeling. I have worked hard the past couple of months to get back fit and it has paid off today.”

Hughes looked sharp during his 24 minutes and played a perfectly weighted pass into Troy Deeney for the Watford skipper to score the winner against the Baggies.

The win took Watford nine points clear of the relegation zone and Hughes was delighted he had been able to contribute to a potentially pivotal win.

“To get the points is massive – it’s very cagey at the bottom of the Premier League. We’re still not safe yet and you could sense that in the game,” he said.

“The first goal was always going to be vital, and luckily we got it towards the end and held on.

“You can’t rely on other teams in this league, you’ve got to get the three points – we’ve done that in the last two games.”

Hughes’ aim now is to remain in the Watford side for the remainder of the season, but he understands competition for places means doing so will be no easy task.

He said: “Every player wants to play and it is healthy competition. It keeps everyone on their toes if everyone is doing well.”