Hughes nearly ready to challenge

City have signed Gareth Barry from Aston Villa and Roque Santa Cruz from Blackburn so far this summer.

“People’s perceptions about us will be accurate this year,” explained Hughes.

“If we can get the players we are hoping for we will have more tools to do the job. We didn’t have that last year.

“Now we are getting closer to what we need to be to be able to challenge.”

“We might not be able to get all the players we need during this transfer window,” he continued. “There may be others we need to negotiate in.

“But leading into the new season I fully expect us to be in better shape and be better prepared than we were last year when expectations were the same as they will be this time.

“Last year we couldn’t fulfil them. This year I anticipate we will.”