The all-rounder has faith the squad can mount a push at the top of the division with competition for places raising standards around the club.
The players recently returned from their tour of Abu Dhabi – where they won three out of four games – and are looking to hit the ground running.
Derbyshire’s 2015 campaign is just 17 days away and Hughes hopes to secure his place in the side to face Lancashire at the County Ground on April 19.
“Everyone is looking to impress and make sure they stake a claim for the first game against Lancashire,” he said.
“There’s a lot of spaces up for grabs so everyone is working really hard at the moment; it’s an exciting time.
“I really don’t mind where I fit into the team. I just want to be in the side for that first game; that’s all I am really focusing on at the moment. Hopefully I can solidify that space and then hopefully the runs and wickets will come.
“I think we have got to be looking to get promoted,” Hughes added. “The form we showed at the end of last season was brilliant.
“We really found a good formula which we are building on in the four-day stuff so we have set our aims high for 2015.
“Abu Dhabi was brilliant and great preparation for the new campaign. The facilities were great and we gained some good practice outside before the season starts.
“Especially doing some competitive games out there was even better. I felt like all of the hard work we had been doing in the winter paid off.
“Everyone looks in a good place. That’s the main thing about it; hitting some balls and getting in some form and confidence before the first few games.”