• 'Villa never made contact with any of my representatives'
• Hughes takes QPR to Villa Park for Premier League tie
Mark Hughes has insisted he was never "close" to becoming Aston Villa manager when he left Fulham at the close of last season. Hughes takes his Queens Park Rangers team to Villa Park on Wednesday bolstered by the five new signings he has made since succeeding Neil Warnock in the second week of January.
Regarding the Aston Villa manager's job, Hughes said: "I wasn't close at all [to joining]. People made the assumption that I left Fulham because I was going to get the Villa job. That was never on the horizon for me. I knew that so that wasn't in my thinking at all.
"Villa never made contact with any of my representatives as far as I'm aware, so I was out of work for seven, eight months after leaving Man City [in December 2009] and there was talk then that I might have replaced Martin O'Neill [when he left in August 2010]. But nobody contacted me then either so I didn't hold out much hope for getting the job to be perfectly honest. Aston Villa is a good job for any manager, I would suggest. But I was never in the frame for that."
On Tuesday's transfer deadline day, Hughes signed Bobby Zamora for £6m and paid £4m for Djibril Cissé to strengthen his attack. They join his previous signings, Nedum Onuoha, Taye Taiwo and Samba Diakité, as Hughes attempts to avoid relegation.
QPR stand 16th, only two points above the drop zone, and the Welshman is conscious of the need to get a positive result against Alex McLeish's side: "On their day Villa have got players that can hurt you and we'll have to be ready for that so it's a difficult game for us – away at Villa Park is always difficult and we need to try and pick up points from every game we play now and that's the challenge for us.
"From now until the end of the season we want to get something from every game. It won't always be possible but it's important to put in performances, which we have done in fairness – the performance levels have been good but we probably lacked a cutting edge at the weekend. Defensively and in terms of shape we're looking in good nick at the moment so we have that platform and if we get that cutting edge we'll be fine."