Saturday 17 March 2018

Hughes: Goals will come for Potters

Mark Hughes wants more goals from Stoke
Mark Hughes wants more goals from Stoke

Stoke boss Mark Hughes believes his side are ready to consign their reputation as long-ball merchants to history by matching the big guns in the goalscoring stakes.

The Potters' solid start to the new Barclays Premier League season is still yet to entirely convince the critics, after yielding just four goals from their first five league games.

But Hughes reckons the tactical revolution he has overseen at the Britannia Stadium since replacing Tony Pulis in the summer will soon pay off - starting with Sunday's visit of struggling Norwich.

Hughes said: "I am convinced that at some point things will turn and we will score a greater amount of goals.

"We are certainly creating chances and that is encouraging. I think it is only a matter of time until we really take the game to somebody and score quite a few goals."

Despite being tipped by many as relegation candidates, Hughes' men have impressed in their opening encounters having been unfortunate not to beat Manchester City before a tough loss at Arsenal last week.

And Hughes says the spirit and strength in depth of his squad was evident in the way his players picked themselves up to ease through a potentially tricky Capital One Cup clash with Tranmere in midweek.

"I have good quality and good ability in many, many positions," the Welshman said.

"We have enough players here to get us through a long, hard season. There are good players who haven't even made the bench recently, so seeing them perform well in midweek was fantastic.

"We are enjoying what we are doing at the moment, playing well and looking forward to every game that comes along. Norwich will accept that it is a difficult game for them, but it won't be easy for us either.

"We've got a good run of fixtures coming up after the weekend so there is a chance for us to go out and show what we are capable of doing this season."

Hughes has a concern over midfielder Matthew Etherington, who suffered whiplash in a traffic incident on Friday morning, but hopes he will be fit enough to face the Canaries.

Asmir Begovic will continue between the posts, with Hughes having given short shrift to reports in the Spanish media that both Atletico Madrid and Napoli are tracking the goalkeeper with a view to a new-year swoop.

And he will be without Jack Butland, who has been sent to Barnsley for a three-month loan spell in order to give the 20-year-old England man a chance to continue his development with guaranteed first-team action.

Press Association

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