MARK HUGHES hopes to toast his 50th birthday with a return to winning ways in the Premier League for his Stoke City side.
The Potters will go in search of their first league success in seven outings when they host Southampton at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow.
Hughes’ milestone birthday is today but the Welshman has postponed any celebrations until after the game and is acutely aware his side need to start turning promising performances into results.
“We’ve had a hard period,” he told stokecityfc.com. “We’ve played nine games now and have played a number of the top sides in the Premier League and we’ve only had four home games up to this point.
“It has been a difficult start in terms of the fixtures but as I’ve said all along I think performance-wise there have been very few games where I’ve been really disappointed with what we’ve produced.
“But we can’t keep on saying that – at the weekend we need to get a positive result and that’s what we’ll look to do.”
Southampton are currently fifth in the Premier League and boast the division’s meanest defensive record, having only conceded three goals in their nine outings.
However, the Potters have hit a vein of goal-scoring form, having followed up the two they bagged against Manchester United at Old Trafford last Saturday with four in their eventful midweek Capital One Cup win over Birmingham.
Hughes added: “It’s all about getting positive results but looking back on the week we’ve just had we’ve produced arguably one of the best performances by a Stoke side at Old Trafford for many a year and we’re through to the quarter-finals of a cup competition.
“We’ve not had that bad a week but we’re facing a good team this weekend. Southampton have made a great start and are on a good run of form and you can see why.
“They work exceptionally hard and make it difficult for you to play your own game, so we’ve got to be up for that challenge and start addressing our home form, which has been a little bit of a disappointment.
“We need to improve in terms of what we’ve produced at home and tomorrow would be the ideal time to start.”