Will Hughes has spoken of his frustration at another lead lost following Watford's draw with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The midfielder returned to the starting lineup for the first time since he was substituted during the 3-0 win over Aston Villa back in December but couldn't prevent the Hornets from being pegged back for a third consecutive match.

Recent results have seen Watford's search for Premier League survival take a hit after a resurgent run following the appointment of Nigel Pearson, but Hughes still believes they can get out their predicament and told the club website they will give it their best shot.

"It's quite frustrating having led again and losing a couple of points," he said.

"It's away from home, at a tough ground and I thought we showed resilience in the last five, ten minutes to keep it 1-1.

“We are in a decent position compared to where we were mid-December where everyone basically had us relegated. We've put ourselves back in the mix and it's only up from here. Everyone deserves credit to where we've come back from. We'll give it a right push in the last 12 games. The performances are there and the character is there as well. It's about getting those wins now.”

Saturday's potential victory was cancelled out by an own goal from Adrian Mariappa, who turned the ball into his own net from a Brighton cross, despite being unchallenged in the box.

However, Hughes insists no one is holding their team-mate responsible for the goal and knows Mariappa will be able to deal with the mistake.

“He's gutted, everyone's gutted,” said Hughes. “These things happen. It's just unfortunate. Everyone put their arm around him, but he's a seasoned professional and he'll get his head up. It's easy to say he could have dealt with it better but he's had to try and clear it and it's unfortunate it's ended up in the net.”

From a personal point of view, Hughes was pleased to return to the fold and is happy playing a more defensive role than he is used to playing.

He is now looking forward to some friendly competition for places from him team-mates.

“The body is aching, but it will do,” he said. “I'm glad to be back out there. It's been frustrating as I was out longer than I would have liked.”

“I'm enjoying it. It helps me being a bit deeper as I can see the pitch more. I like going around tackling people. When you have got players like Geri [Deulofeu] and Maxi [Pereyra] on the wing, they can do all the playmaking so you've just got to give them the ball and let them do their magic. I can just do the basics. I've got a good relationship in there [with Capoue and Doucouré]. We have fantastic players on the bench too, with Nate [Chalobah] and Clevs [Cleverley] coming back. The competition is healthy.”