The 28-year-old turned in a captain's display in the wake of Kevin Keegan's resignation against Hull last weekend, but could not prevent his side from slipping to a humbling 2-1 home defeat.
However, with events off the pitch having thrown the club into turmoil and injuries and suspensions making life intensely difficult on it, Hughton is hoping the England international can help to restore a little stability to the dressing room.
He said: "The formation that I went to was one which served us well in the last period of last season.
"One thing you know about Michael is that he can adapt to most situations. He played a little bit deeper, and he's one you know you can rely on.
"He's a very, very good individual. He's the captain of the team and a big player. They are the things we expect from him.
"He's somebody who has served us very well. He's a big influence whether he's playing or not.
"There were never any doubts he would be captain."