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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Getting The Right Balance


MARK HUGHES insists he is not planning on making wholesale changes to the Stoke City squad he has inherited following his appointment.

The new Potters boss made his first acquisition since arriving at the Britannia Stadium with winger Jermaine Pennant penning a new one-year contract.

Hughes is hoping to do more business before City launch the 2013-14 Premier League season, but does not envisage a glut of new players checking-in.

Following the announcement of the fixtures for the new campaign, he commented: "It's all about making sure the squad is balanced in key positions.

"We need good quality in our starting eleven and good quality back up for when we lose players to injury and suspension, which it's inevitable we will do.

"We've got to make sure we're covered for all eventualities and with the right quality.

"I don't think we need to bring in many new faces; just one or two to help the group that we've already got here."

Hughes, who was appointed as Tony Pulis' successor last month, returned from holiday earlier this week to step-up his pursuit of transfer targets.

He added: "Everybody would like to have all their new signings in the building for the first day of pre-season. I certainly would but it never happens because invariably it's a long drawn out process when trying to sign players.

"Some happen quickly but more often than not it's a case of having to patient because it's not an easy process."

Hughes will take his bow as Stoke boss in the Premier League against Liverpool at Anfield on the opening day of the new season on August 17th.

The Potters will go head-to-head with Crystal Palace in their first home game at the Britannia Stadium seven days later and the following month face back-to-back encounters with Hughes' former club Manchester City and Arsenal.

He added: "It's not the easiest of starts when you've got to play Liverpool, Manchester City and teams of that ilk, but I think it just goes to show how strong the Premier League is.

"It would have been great to have got a home game on the opening weekend of the season and going to Anfield to face Liverpool will be difficult, but I bet they won't be too pleased with having to face us in their first game.

"It will certainly be a good test of where we are and if we can produce a good performance then it will set us up for the challenges to come."



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