Indestructible McHugh making his mark at Plymouth Argyle

Leitirmacaward star hailed for his contribution in new midfield role

Indestructible McHugh making his mark at Plymouth Argyle

Carl McHugh is making a name for himself this season with Plymouth Argyle, but not in his normal defensive role.

His manager Derek Adams has used McHugh as a holding midfielder and he has been a revelation in his new role.

His physical toughness and ability to protect the back four is also being seen as one of the main reasons Argyle are sitting pretty at the top of the Sky Bet Division 2 table.

On Saturday last McHugh was asked to fill in again in the last line of defence and his display in that role and his overall performances this season was the subject of a very complementary column by Chris Errington in the Plymouth Herald.

We reproduce the comment piece in full.

Anyone else remember the 1960s sci-fi television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons?

The reason I ask is that Argyle's Carl McHugh reminds me of the lead character in that show because they are both virtually indestructible.

Younger readers of this column might want to go online to find out more about Captain Scarlet.

Suffice it to say, the comparison is a compliment to McHugh's durability despite a series of tough tackles, aerial challenges and heavy falls.

It should not perhaps come as a surprise, however. After all, McHugh comes from County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and played Gaelic football to a good standard when he was younger.

Gaelic football has always struck me as one of those sports where only the toughest will survive.

McHugh was coached by 1992 Donegal All-Ireland winner Declan Bonner in the Na Rossa GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) set-up.

"He was always a really good footballer whether it was soccer or Gaelic," Bonner said in a newspaper interview in 2013.

"He was fearless and committed when he played for me and someone who wasn't afraid to work hard."

Those sentiments, I am sure, will be echoed by Argyle manager Derek Adams now.

McHugh is one of those footballers who wears his heart on his sleeve, so to speak, and you always know you are going to get 100 per cent from him.

He has repeatedly shown that for Argyle, not only last season but this one as well.

McHugh has often had to receive treatment from physio Paul Atkinson during games but, like Captain Scarlet, he always gets to his feet again.

There was another example of that in the Pilgrims' 2-0 win against Carlisle United at Ewood Park, Blackburn, on Saturday.

It came during the first half when McHugh was flattened by Charlie Wyke as the Carlisle striker took a running jump to win a header.

Both players ended up in a heap and for a few moments McHugh laid face down and motionless as Atkinson rushed to the scene.

Yet, it was not long before the indestructible McHugh got to his knees and then to his feet before making his way off the pitch.

He was soon back in the thick of the action, but it took Wyke a while before he was ready to return.

The versatility of McHugh has also served Argyle well.

He has made the successful transition from central defence to a midfield holding role under Adams this season.

McHugh has been, without doubt, one of Argyle's most consistent performers.

It does not always lead to him making headlines, but he plays a very important role doing a lot of the so-called dirty work so his team-mates can go on the attack.

And, when Adams decided to play three centre-backs against free-scoring Carlisle, McHugh slotted into the defence as if he had never been away from it.

The 22-year-old has developed into a player who a successful side can be built around and the Pilgrims are fortunate to have him in their ranks.