MARK HUGHES believes that racking up a run of victories at the Britannia Stadium will be imperative to the outcome of Stoke City’s season.
The Welshman has overseen just one league win on home turf thus far, a 2-1 triumph against newly promoted Crystal Palace back in August.
Since then his side have secured single points in games against Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, whilst Norwich City remain the only side to depart the Potteries with maximum points.
Speaking in the build-up to this weekend’s encounter against Sunderland, Hughes says that he and his players are looking to address what he describes as ‘poor home form’, and is hoping that all three points against the Black Cats can be the springboard to a more fruitful run of games.
“To have a successful season we certainly have to improve our home form, there is no doubt about that,” he told Stoke City Player.
“The game on Saturday gives us a real opportunity of improving that side of things, and if we can play to the levels that I know we can play to then there is no reason why we won’t win the game.
“We’ve had a few draws at home so far, and whilst they are ok, we all know that we need victories, because with them come three points.
“As the league progresses draws end up just keeping you where you are in the table and we don’t want that. We want to progress, and move ourselves up the league.
“Wins are the order of the day for us, and that has to start from tomorrow.”
He is likely to be without the services of Kenwyne Jones for the match against his former side, and is also sweating on the fitness of Republic of Ireland international midfielder Marc Wilson.
“Kenwyne has only just arrived back, but looks to have a little problem with his shoulder which needs checking,” he added.
“Marc [Wilson] has also come in a little sore in his hip, and that will need to be released, so we will take another look at him before the game tomorrow.
“Apart from that I think everyone else is fit and raring to go, and we are all looking forward to the game.”