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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Mark's Forward Thinking

MARK HUGHES is confident his Stoke City side can cope with the challenge West Ham will present at the Boleyn Ground tomorrow - and is convinced they will ask questions of their hosts themselves.

The Potters will hit the road for their second away game of the 2013-14 Premier League campaign having been narrowly edged out by Liverpool in their opener.

Hughes drew enormous positives from his side's display at Anfield that could so easily have yielded a valuable point had Jon Walters converted a last-gasp penalty.

Stoke will head for the capital on the back of successive home wins over Crystal Palace in the league and Walsall in the Capital One Cup and the manager believes they can cause problems for Sam Allardyce's Hammers.

"I think we certainly deal with the challenge of West Ham but what we have to do is make sure we have a threat going the other way as well because you can't just hope to defend for 90 minutes," he says.

"It's really difficult to do at Premier League level, so you have to give yourself an outlet and your back four an opportunity to rest in their positions and be ready for the opposition come again.

"That means you have to have a threat going the other way and that's what we're trying to bring to our game away from home.

"We have to be solid away from home, I think that's a given, but if we can pose a threat the other way, which I think we have the capability of, then we can do well away from home. I think we will surprise people." 

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