LEE Hughes is backing Halesowen Town's players to win their relegation dogfight.

The former West Bromwich Albion hitman has taken the hotseat at the Grove after Rob Smith and assistant Larry Chambers left by mutual consent.

Smith's 18 games in charge produced just two wins to leave the club second bottom in the Southern League Central and five points from safety.

Hughes was quickly appointed as first team player/manager until the end of the season as the Yeltz battle to beat the drop.

He is set to be joined by fans' favourite Asa Charlton as his assistant and Craig Harris as coach.

Hughes' first game in charge will be the crucial home game against relegation rivals Hitchin Town this Saturday (3pm kick-off).

"It's going to be really tough but it's a challenge I'm really looking forward to," said Hughes.

"I really do believe this squad is capable of getting out of trouble.

"We've got some really decent players here and I think it could just be about helping them find that belief and confidence again.

"We do need a couple of players in certain areas and I'll be using my contacts to try and make that happen. We are a young squad and I think we could just do with a bit more experience in key areas.

"We know it will be tough for us but we know how hard we are going to have to work.

"I'll be working with the lads as soon as I can on the training pitch and I'll make sure everyone knows what's required from them.

"The one issue we have at the moment is that we aren't creating enough chances for our forwards. We'll be working on improving that.

"Saturday is a massive game now but a win could really do wonders for us. Win it and we could put two or three wins together.

"There are still 30 points to play for and everyone of those games has to be like a cup final for us."