Sport Soccer

Saturday 18 November 2017

Saido Berahino in line for Stoke debut after impressing new boss Mark Hughes

Saido Berahino is set to make his Stoke debut this week
Saido Berahino is set to make his Stoke debut this week

Mark Hughes believes Saido Berahino can make a quick impact at Stoke.

The former England Under-21 striker joined the Potters earlier this month after a long stand-off over his future with West Brom.

Berahino has not played since September but Stoke boss Hughes has been impressed with his fitness levels and he could feature in the midweek Premier League clash against Everton.

Hughes, speaking at a press conference covered by the club's website, said: "Saido hasn't stopped smiling to be honest. He is really excited to be here, and he will be in the squad on Wednesday.

"He has trained every day and looks really sharp. We have been really encouraged by what we have seen. His movement is tremendous, his work is of a high level.

"He still has a bit of a way to go to get right up to speed but we don't envisage it being too long until he is able to come through 90 minutes.

"I am not sure why he was deemed not fit at West Brom because, for us, he looks in good shape."

Hughes believes the 23-year-old will add a new dimension to the Stoke attack.

He said: "I was speaking to him after a session the other day because his quality of runs was excellent.

"It was actually the rest of the team who needed to get used to what he can do because we haven't had anybody who can make runs like he can for a long, long time.

"He has attributes that can really help improve us. When he gets right up to speed then he is going to be a very good player for us."

The weekend also saw a notable departure from the bet365 Stadium as former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic was allowed to join Mainz on loan for the rest of the season.

The 26-year-old had fallen out of favour this term.

Hughes said: "He was getting frustrated and, in fairness, he and his representatives have been discussing his lack of opportunities.

"Joe Allen came in and has done so well in Bojan's preferred position and that has affected my decision making on Bojan.

"I thought that there may have been more opportunities for Bojan with the guys away at the African Nations Cup but that didn't pan out.

"He maybe didn't make the most of his opportunities and we felt the best thing was to get him out and playing football."

Hughes has no further plans to do business before Tuesday's transfer deadline but has not completely ruled it out.

He said: "I don't expect too much to happen tomorrow. We have Saido in the building now and we have brought Lee Grant in too.

"In terms of actual activity we are pleased with what we have done. Whether we can get anything else done, it is probably unlikely but you never say never."

Press Association

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