Sacked by Newcastle just over a year ago, as reward for taking them back up to the Barclays Premier League, Hughton has wasted little time exposing the folly of a hasty decision by owner Mike Ashley.
Snapped up by Birmingham, after Alex McLeish's departure for Aston Villa, the former Tottenham defender's calm assurance and eye for detail has transformed them into a unit capable of pushing West Ham and Southampton all the way for a direct route back to the top flight.
On target: Nathan Redmond celebrates after scoring Birmingham's third goal
MATCH FACTS Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman, Edwards, McNulty, McEveley (Golbourne 73), Cotterill (O'Brien 61), Digby, Smith (Tonge 73), Done, Dagnall, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Preece, Gray.
Booked: Cotterill, McNulty.
Goals: Davies 19.
Birmingham: Myhill, Spector (Ibanez 90), Davies, Caldwell, Murphy, Burke, Mutch, Fahey, Gomis (Redmond 73), Elliott, King (Rooney 73).
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Jervis.
Booked: Spector, Mutch.
Goals: Edwards 8 og, Fahey 27, Redmond 78.
Referee: Carl Boyeson (E Yorkshire).
Barnsley briefly threatened to peg them back, after an equaliser from Craig Davies, but goals from Keith Fahey and Nathan Redmond reflected the confidence currently coursing through Hughton's side as they made it 11 Championship games without defeat and climbed into third place.
Barnsley boss Keith Hill tipped them for promotion, claiming they had a 'great chance' of a top two finish, but Hughton adopted a more cautious approach.
'We have built some momentum, but so have a few others,' he said. 'We have to remind ourselves there is still a third of the season to go and a lot of work to be done. We can't afford to take our foot off the pedal, but the good thing is, no players are saying they are tired or asking to be left out.'
Birmingham are the last side who need a helping hand on current form, but Barnsley gave them one, anyway, in the eighth minute, as they failed to deal with a bouncing ball and then skipper Rob Edwards diverted Chris Burke's shot past a wrong-footed Luke Steele.
Davies swept David Cotterill's low cross past Boaz Myhill in the 19th minute, but Fahey restored Birmingham's lead with an opportunist 27th-minute strike and substitute Redmond made sure of the points with an angled volley in the 78th minute.
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