Stoke boss Mark Hughes set to pick Saido Berahino against former club West Brom
Stoke manager Mark Hughes sees no reason why he should not select striker Saido Berahino for Saturday's Premier League clash at former club West Brom on Saturday.
Hughes confirmed on Friday morning that Berahino had served a suspension before he joined the Potters in a £12million move during the January transfer window.
Berahino did not play any competitive football between West Brom's Premier League game at Bournemouth on September 10 and making his Stoke debut in Wednesday's clash with Everton.
It is reported the former England Under-21 international tested positive for a banned substance during an out-of-competition test in September. The Football Association has declined to comment on the matter.
While Berahino may find himself under the spotlight again, Hughes does not see why he should leave out a player whom he believes has yet to produce his best football.
"We were aware of that (suspension) before we signed him," Hughes said at a press conference which was covered by the club's website, stokecityfc.com.
''He had issues at his previous club for 18 months, which this is obviously a part of.
''As with all players we did our research on him before we signed him, but that didn't change our thinking at all.
''We are pleased with what he is producing and he is looking forward to the game tomorrow.''
The Stoke boss added: ''Why wouldn't I play him? He is in line to be involved. He came on to good effect on Wednesday and there is no reason why he shouldn't be involved tomorrow.
''He is itching to play a part, although the way the game is going will determine whether he comes on.
"Most opposition players get some stick, and he will get some I am sure, but he is of the view that he is probably used to having some stick from West Brom supporters.''
Berahino's career stalled at West Brom after a potential move to Tottenham collapsed in 2015, but Hughes is confident he can get back on track at the bet365 Stadium.
''We have brought in a player with great ability, of a good age who hasn't reached his peak yet. He still has a lot of development to come, and we feel that what we can offer him here, it will benefit him," the Stoke manager said.
''He will prosper here, I am sure of that and that is why we chased him for so long. The next three or four years are going to be really important for him, and for us. He wants to improve.''
Stoke's 1-1 draw at home to Everton extended their unbeaten run to three matches.
Peter Crouch reached the landmark of 100 Premier League goals when he opened the scoring on seven minutes, the 6ft 7ins striker recreating his 'robot' dance routine in celebration.
Hughes believes the 36-year-old can still continue to play at the top level for some time yet.
"The goal was actually a great goalscorers goal. On the night I thought he was excellent once again, and as I have emphasised for quite some time his attributes and qualities aren't waning at all," Hughes said.
Stoke could close up to within a point of the Baggies, who are eighth, if they can win at The Hawthorns.
Hughes said: " We have never been better than ninth in the Premier League, so we are striving to finish higher than that if we can and w e want to do things that this club has never done before."