MARK HUGHES says he will assess all of his options in the build-up to tomorrow’s Barclays Premier League showdown with West Ham, as he decides on who to replace the suspended Jonathan Walters.
The Republic of Ireland international joins Charlie Adam on the sidelines having been dismissed just minutes after netting a crucial penalty against Norwich City last weekend.
One option could be to thrust Oussama Assaidi back into the starting eleven after he returned to training recently following a four-week injury lay-off, although the City boss admits he isn’t sure as to whether the Moroccan is ready for a return.
“Ozzie (Oussama) Assaidi has joined in training now for a couple of days but it is probably a bit too soon for him to return at the weekend,” he told Stoke City Player
on Friday morning.
“That said, we are going to give him another session this morning and we will check on him again this later on before making a decision on him.”
Should the on-loan Liverpool winger fail to declare himself fit to feature against the Hammers, then it could mean a potential recall to the side for former West Ham star Matthew Etherington.
The 32-year-old, who is expected to leave the Britannia Stadium at the end of the campaign, is one of a number of players being earmarked for a spot in the eleven with injuries and suspensions depleting Hughes’ attacking options.
“There are a number of players who come in to my thinking in Jon’s absence to be perfectly honest, and obviously Matty is one of those.
“It is important for players who are outside of the first eleven to train correctly, and keep their fitness levels high.
“We are good at that in many aspects, because when they aren’t playing regularly we give them extra work to do to make sure that when they do get the call to come into the side they are ready to make an impact.”
He added: “We have lost a few players through injuries and suspensions recently, but we have guys here who are more than capable of coming into the team and doing the job that is required of them.
“They are fully engaged with what we are doing, so I will have absolutely no hesitation in brining one or two lads who haven’t featured regularly into the eleven.”
John Guidetti also did his chances of earning himself a first Premier League start no harm whatsoever last time out, having impressed and earned his side a penalty during his 15-minute cameo against the Canaries.