The 18-year-old has suffered a torrid time with injuries in recent seasons and Hughes has vowed to protect him despite his last-gasp winner against Leyton Orient last weekend.
Pools fans have urged the former Livingston chief to reward the youngster with a starting place but he insists James is still short of full fitness.
"Luke is someone we have to look after," Hughes told the Hartlepool Mail. "I say to the supporters I know why he's a favourite, I can see that, he excites the fans and that's great.
"But we shouldn't put too much on him in terms of expectations. I've seen players like that who, before you know it, have burned out."
Hughes has no fresh injury or suspension worries and could name the same starting XI that edged past Orient. Winger Andy Monkhouse is pushing for inclusion while striker Steve Howard is also available following a hamstring problem.M