ROBERT HUTH is eager to extend Stoke City's long unbeaten run at the Britannia Stadium in the Barclays Premier League. . . even though he recognises the size of the task in prospect when his former club Chelsea come to town.
The Potters have gone 17 Premier League games without a defeat on home turf, a run which stretches back to February last year, and are the only top-flight team to maintain an unblemished record on their own patch this season.
European Champions Chelsea though, Huth says, will provide a stern test for City as they try and start their 2013 campaign at home on a positive footing.
"We don't want to lose the home record," commented the German international.
"It will be a difficult game though - they've been on a really good run, apart from the QPR game, but we've got a good home record, so it's all to play for really.
"If both teams bring their top game, it should be a really interesting match."
Huth is more than aware of the threat the Blues pose in attacking areas, especially since the recent acquisition of one of the Premier League's most consistent goalscorers of the last 18 months in Demba Ba.
He has also noted how much the Londoners have tightened up since Rafael Benitez took temporary charge in November following the sacking of Roberto di Matteo.
"As a defender, I always look out for the forwards and attackers, and they've got plenty of them," he added.
"Ba's just come in and scored two goals on his debut, and Juan Mata has been a really good player for them.
"They're a very solid team, too. Since Benitez has taken over, a couple of things have changed - they don't concede as many anymore."
The 28-year-old looks back on his time at Stamford Bridge fondly, and says the club played a big part of his development as a player.
"I very much enjoyed my time there," said Huth, who spent six years with the Blues.
"I was initially there as a youngster, and then training with the first team squad. It was a great experience. It was a really great group there, and once José Mourinho took over, we started winning."