Friday 28 July 2017

Stoke boss Mark Hughes thinks Wembley isn't just a dream for fans

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is dreaming of Wembley
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is dreaming of Wembley

Mark Hughes sees no reason why Stoke fans should not be able to dream of Wembley again in this season's FA Cup.

Although the Potters boss is not underestimating Wolves after admitting his side still carry the scars of a third round scare at home to Wrexham two years ago.

Stoke get their cup campaign under way at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday against the Championship club - and Hughes has said he will make changes for the tie.

In 2015, Conference side Wrexham took a 73rd-minute lead against Hughes' team who needed late goals from Marko Arnautovic and Stephen Ireland, who scored in the 88th and 90th minutes, to avoid embarrassment.

Stoke reached the final in 2011 under Tony Pulis, losing 1-0 to Manchester City, and Hughes believes the club can repeat the feat if they get a kind draw - and firstly see off Wolves.

"There's no reason why we can't (reach Wembley)," he said. "The competition has out total focus. I'll make one or two changes but we will go with a strong team that I think will win the tie.

"We're at home against a team from a lower level. We don't want to be making headlines for the wrong reasons. Wolves will feel they have nothing to lose and we have to be ready for that.

"We had the experience when Wrexham came here and gave us a fright. We've got the scars of that and hopefully we'll get the job done.

"Hopefully we'll get past Wolves and then who knows? You have to be lucky with the draw and not meet any of the top six, hopefully until the final!

"A cup run is good for everybody. It can help form and confidence in league games as well and it generates excitement for fans and players."

Meanwhile, Hughes has told Bojan Krkic to be more patient and has re-iterated his desire to keep the unsettled Spaniard - who is frustrated by a lack of action.

"He's a little bit frustrated because he hasn't had as many starts as he feels he needs," said Hughes.

"I said to his advisors, and we had a long conversation, that we have lost three attack-minded players (Wifried Bony, Mame Biram Diouf and Ramadan Sobhi) to the African Nations Cup and so there's going to be more opportunities and it's up to him to take those opportunities. He is still a big part of my thinking."

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