ROBERT HUTH has welcomed the increased competition for places in Stoke City's back line following the arrivals of Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa.
The defensive pair became new Mark Hughes' first signings of the summer and will meet their new team-mates for the first time on Monday when the first team squad report back for pre-season training.
Left-back Pieters has joined the Potters from PSV Eindhoven in a €3.6million deal, while Muniesa, who can also play at left back but prefers to occupy a central defensive role, signed on a free transfer from Barcelona.
Huth has been a defensive bedrock for Stoke since moving to the Britannia Stadium from Middlesbrough in 2009, but he's taking nothing for granted ahead of the 2013-14 Premier League campaign.
"It's always good to have someone to hopefully improve your game," the German international told Stoke City Player.
"Game on - everyone's place is up for grabs. All the positions that were occupied last season are there to be taken with a new manager. I've got to keep my head together and stay fit and see what happens.
"I've seen both Erik and Marc play on TV and I'm looking forward to meeting them on Monday when we report back."
Huth has been hitting the gym at the Club's Clayton Wood training complex this week as he prepares for the slog of pre-season.
The 28 year old explained: "I like to do a bit of hard work before we report back, so next week when we do start officially I won't get the aches and pains that I normally get.
"I personally look forward to pre-season. It's a chance to get away with the lads, we are going to the United States for almost two weeks and to France as well I think. It will be hard work, but it's something to enjoy as well."
Stoke City Player and stokecityfc.com will be with Mark Hughes and his players throughout pre-season, so you won't miss any of the action.