English Premiership

Hughes faces selection headache

2015-08-21 21:15
Mark Hughes (Getty Images)

London - Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is facing a selection headache ahead of Saturday's trip to take on newly promoted Norwich City in the Premier League.

The Canaries got their first win of the season after beating Sunderland 3-1 away on Saturday while Stoke bounced back from their opening 1-0 loss to Liverpool by coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Hughes could hand a debut to record signing Xherdan Shaqiri, but must also decide how much of a role to give the likes of Bojan Krkic, Joselu and Stephen Ireland.

The manager said it would have been "unfair" to put Shaqiri straight into the squad against Spurs last week, but added that the midfielder was fit after enjoying a good pre-season with his previous employers Inter Milan.

"He had only had a couple of days training with the guys, but he has had over a week with us now and has developed an understanding of what we are trying to do," Hughes said.

"He is definitely fit having had a good pre-season, and has had a little bit of game-time. Match fitness is something that will develop with minutes on the field.

"Both Stephen and Joselu made major contributions last weekend, and of course, as always, they will come into consideration for this game," the manager told the club's website (www.stokecityfc.com).

"I have just been speaking to the guys and I have told them that when we have a relatively fully fit squad of players, like we do now, then it is always going to be difficult to keep everybody happy," the 54-year-old added.

One of Hughes' dilemmas is whether to include Bojan in the squad after he played the full 90 minutes in last weekend's under-21 triumph over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"I have a few decisions to make before the weekend and obviously Bojan is one of those," the Welshman said.

"Maybe he will be involved in some capacity, but I am mindful of the fact that we have a game on Tuesday night against Luton Town (in the Capital One Cup)," the manager added.

"First and foremost we want to make sure we progress through to the next round, that is the priority, but along with that, if we can give game-time to guys that need it then that will aid us."

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