TEAMtalk believes both QPR and Everton can feel optimistic about the future following their 1-1 draw at Loftus Road on Sunday.
QPR remain bottom and may regard this as two points dropped as they were held to a draw in front of their own fans. Junior Hoilett gave the home side an early lead but after a bright opening, Hughes' side were undone by sloppy defending from a set-piece that resulted in Julio Cesar diverting the ball into his own goal.
And that's how it stayed despite penalty appeals from both sides and QPR enjoying a numerical advantage from the hour mark onwards after Steven Pienaar was sent off for two bookable offences.
Hughes made two changes to the team that lost to West Brom in the game prior to the international break. Anton Ferdinand made way for Samba Diakite who played in midfield with Stephane Mbia dropping into the back four. Hoilett came in for Shaun Wright-Phillips and that switch paid off almost instantly when the Canadian's purposeful run resulted in the opening goal.
David Moyes made one unenforced change to the team that drew at Wigan last time out - and it was the same one he made at half-time in that game - as Sylvain Distin came in for Johnny Heitinga at the back. The Scot was also forced to find a replacement for the injured Marouane Fellaini and opted for Victor Anichebe instead of new arrival Thomas Hitzlsperger.
Adel Taarabt was given freedom to float around in support of Bobby Zamora with Park Ji-sung and Hoilett also working hard to get forward whenever possible. The Hoops had a good mix in the centre of the pitch with Esteban Granero as the playmaker and Diakite providing protection for the defence.
Moyes had the personnel to play 4-4-2 but instead the Everton boss set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. That meant Leon Osman operating in a central role with Victor Anichebe playing in an advanced position on the right, while Nikica Jelavic was the lone forward.
All of QPR's substitutions were like-for-like switches as Djibril Cisse replaced the tiring Zamora, Nedum Onuoha came on for Armand Traore and then Ferdinand was introduced for Ryan Nelsen.
Everton made their first change early in the second half as Steven Naismith came on to replace the ineffective Anichebe on the right. Once they were a man down, Moyes chose to bring on Heitinga for Jelavic in a bid to tighten things up for the final 10 minutes.
The Toffees were not happy to see Jonathan Moss wave away claims for a penalty when Jelavic went down under a challenge from Mbia in the area. Replays showed that the studs had clearly caught the Croatian forward but the Everton man's momentum made the fall appear clumsy and the appeals were ignored.
But there was further controversy after the break when Moss sent off the usually mild-mannered Pienaar. The South Africa international had been rightly booked and was then talked to for a later challenge so he could not say he wasn't warned. But the eventual second booking was remarkably soft and Moss appeared to have decided he would send off Pienaar for the next foul no matter how tame the offence.
And late on it was the home fans screaming for a penalty when Seamus Coleman miscontrolled inside the box and appeared to trip Hoilett but once again Moss was unmoved and refused to award the spot-kick.
Hoilett was at the heart of so much positive work from the home side. While he was perhaps fortunate with his early deflected goal, it only came about thanks to his own driving run from deep and he could have had a second when he forced a fine save from Howard late on. It's hard to imagine that the former Blackburn man will be omitted in favour of Wright-Phillips again.
Phil Jagielka revelled in a backs-to-the-wall role once his team had gone down to 10 men. He produced a fantastic block to deny Park when the former Manchester United midfielder looked set to tap home the winner. Jagielka put his body on the line and read the game well - even managing another last-ditch interception when Diakite's long-range shot seemed likely to fall nicely for a host of advancing QPR forwards. His only frustration will be that he hit the crossbar when well placed to put Everton 2-1 ahead.
It's questionable just how far ahead the QPR boss can afford to look right now but this was an encouraging performance. In Granero they have a classy playmaker and with Hoilett and Taarabt capable of producing quality in the final third he will be optimistic that his side can hurt teams at Loftus Road. But Rangers remain shaky at the back and there are issues for Hughes to address.
Everton stay fourth, have still only tasted defeat once in the Premier League this season and have good cause to be encouraged by that start. With no European commitments and already out of the Capital One Cup, Moyes will have high hopes of continuing their strong league form. Next up? Liverpool at Goodison Park.