Darren Hughes joined Exeter City from Northampton towards the end of a career that had seen him play over 180 league games for Port Vale. Starting as an apprentice with Everton, he also appeared for Shrewsbury and Brighton.
Arriving at Goodison Park as a trainee in 1982, Darren turned professional in October 1983 and made three league appearances for Everton before a transfer to Shrewsbury Town in June 1985. After just over a year at Gay Meadow, he joined Brighton and Hove Albion in September 1986 before switching to Port Vale in a £5,000 transfer.
First playing for Vale in September 1987, Darren made 184 league appearances for the Burslem club before suffering hernia and thigh injuries which blighted his latter years at Vale Park. Eventually leaving the club, and taking a case of unfair dismissal to a tribunal, Darren signed for Northampton Town in January 1995 where played 21 times in the league.
Now aged thirty, Darren joined Exeter City in November 1995 and made his debut for the Grecians against Colchester United on 4 November 1995. Staying at St James’ Park until the end of the 1996-97 season, Darren appeared 62 times in league football for the Grecians ahead of making the final appearance of a 333-game Football League career against Carlisle United on 3 May 1997.
He then played for Morecambe and Newcastle Town (Staffordshire) before running a construction business.