Neill returns to Ewood Park today for the first time since his £1.5m switch and can expect a rough reception from the home fans as he aids his new club’s unlikely battle to beat the drop.
But Hughes, whose side have shot to within three points of the top six and into the FA Cup semi-finals on the back of four straight wins, insists he has no hard feelings over Neill’s exit.
He said: “I feel we are stronger now than we were before January. Because of the situation we were able to get Stephen (Warnock) in and I have been delighted with his contribution.”
Hughes will welcome midfielder David Dunn back from suspension.
West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker returns from suspension, while Wales defender James Collins is back after a groin problem.