MARK HUGHES admits he does have an idea in his head of what his starting line-up is likely to be for next weekend’s Barclays Premier League curtain-raiser against Aston Villa.
The Potters play host to the Villans at the Britannia Stadium eager to secure a winning start to the 2014/15 campaign, and build upon the momentum that was generated by three successive triumphs during the final weeks of last season.
Hughes named his final pre-season starting eleven against Bundesliga side SC Freiburg on Saturday, giving his strongest indication yet as to what his plans may be for the season opener in six days time.
The City boss did suggest though that whichever eleven he does select for the clash against Paul Lambert’s side may not be guaranteed a starting role in the following encounter at the KC Stadium.
“There are still things we need to work on, but I do have an idea in my head,” the Welshman told stokecityfc.com.
“Obviously given the different opposition it will be horses for courses, so we will change things around to suit the game that we are involved in.
“The team against Aston Villa may be different to the team that we may pick for the game the next week, and so on.
“That’s how it is going to be this year – it is all about picking the right team the right combination of players for each specific game.
“We have a good squad here, a healthy squad and I envisage everybody playing a part at some stage. You need strength in depth at this level and thankfully we have that.”
One player who does look primed to make his league debut for the Potters next Saturday is Senegalese striker Mame Diouf.
The former Hanover ace has featured heavily throughout the pre-season campaign, and netted his first goal for the Club against Freiburg at the weekend.
“Mame is a very good player, and we are delighted that he has been able to get himself off the mark,” Hughes added.
“He performed really well today (on Saturday), showed a lot of energy and displayed some real intelligence to his play.
“Strikers always like to score goals, it doesn’t matter who it is against and it doesn’t matter whether it is pre-season or the Premier League.
“In fairness to him it was a great finish, he showed great composure when he put himself into that one-on-one situation.”