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Hughes wary of throwing Wollscheid in at deep end

Stoke manager Mark Hughes is wary of throwing new signing Philipp Wollscheid in at the deep end at Arsenal tomorrow, despite his international pedigree.

The Germany defender became Hughes' first signing of the transfer window earlier this week when he joined City on loan from Bayer Leverkusen until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent move.

Wollscheid, however, has not played competitively since December 19 due to Germany's winter break.

Although he has naturally kept himself fit over the past few weeks, Hughes feels there may be easier games ahead than a trip to the Emirates for Wollscheid to make his debut.

"We pursued Philipp as there was an opportunity to do it," said Hughes.

"We had to move quickly and we're pleased we did. He's come in and he's in good shape.

"He's had a couple of weeks off, but in that time he was aware of our interest and he's kept himself up to speed.

"But he's only had two training sessions this week, so he's an option, that's all I'll say.

"It's a big decision to throw him in at that deep end against a team the quality of Arsenal." Hughes has another four players who could face the Gunners, but he is mindful they have all recently been injured and does not want to push them too quickly too soon.

Midfielder Victor Moses, on loan from Chelsea, has been sidelined for seven weeks with a thigh injury, while striker Bojan Krkic has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem.

"Victor is back in the group and he looks okay, he looks sharp, but whether or not he is ready to start that's something I need to mull over," said Hughes.

"But credit to Chelsea, he's come back well in terms of the rehab they gave him. He's bang on track.

"We'll be careful because prior to his injury he was arguably our best performer.

"Bojan is another we also have to be careful of, so we will have to see if he's ready for the weekend."

Marc Muniesa, who missed the 3-1 FA Cup win over Wrexham last weekend with a slight groin tear, has returned to training.

Fellow defender Marc Wilson has a knee problem which Hughes claims the club "are managing okay", but added: "We have to be mindful of that."


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