The Welshman takes charge of a team with only one win in their last 17 league matches and are on 28 points, a place and a point above the relegation zone.
His task is made harder by the fact that, of Southampton's eight remaining matches, only three are at St Mary's Stadium.
But he has a chance to have an immediate impact on his own side as well as his rivals.
Hughes's first league opponents will be the team immediately above Saints in the table, West Ham United.
The Hammers are two points ahead but are also struggling for form, having lost four of their last five in the league.
From Southampton's remaining seven matches thereafter, only two feature opponents who are at present in the lower half of the table.
|32||WHU (A)||36||BOU (H)|
|33||ARS (A)||37||EVE (A)|
|34||CHE (H)||38||MCI (H)|
|35||LEI (A)||TBC||SWA (A)|