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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Press Conference Snippets - Crystal Palace

Mark Hughes

MH on team news…
We are hopeful that Jack Butland will be able to get some work done, with protection, next week. It hasn’t healed completely, but hopefully he can get the gloves on and see how it goes. If he can manage quality work then that will clearly be a positive for us. Geoff Cameron is working on the grass too, although he isn’t back with the group yet. We anticipate that within the next seven to 10 days he will be back with the group. He needs a little bit of conditioning work, but we don’t expect him out for too much longer. Xherdan Shaqiri is ok. He had a bit of tightness before the Brighton & Hove Albion game, so we needed to protect him late on, especially with the demanding schedule coming up.

MH on transfer rumours…
We have been linked with a lot of names, but we are constantly compiling lists of potential targets and trying to have conversations with people who may have an insight into their possible availability. It is still quite early, we are in November, but there is nothing to report as yet.

MH on his side’s form…
We are starting to build our season and having some continuity in terms of selection. We are three unbeaten now, including two difficult away fixtures, so we are progressing. We would have liked to have retained our lead on Monday, but it wasn’t to be. Crystal Palace are fighting for their lives and will want to maximise their opportunities by getting all three points against us. Roy Hodgson is in there now and he will have an impact, we are mindful of that, but we are at a point where we are confident in what we are doing and we are looking forward to it.

MH on Crystal Palace…
If you look at the strength they have at the top end of the pitch then you would anticipate that they will turn things around. Possibly they haven’t had the defensive platform to enable them to release the quality attackers they have to win matches for them. You do feel that at some point, with the quality they have, they will go on a run. They have players like Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and many others, they are very good players who we need to keep quiet throughout the 90 minutes. 

MH on Peter Crouch possibly becoming the Potters leading PL scorer…
It is one that he will break. Peter is an exceptional player and a great guy as well. I think people concentrate too much on his age, in terms of where he is in his career. It is a credit to him that he is playing at the level he is. I may be doing him a disservice saying he is 37, but he has at least two or three more years at this level. We will more than likely offer him another deal very soon. We would like to think that he will be here for a long time - I will probably speak to him today about it actually.

MH on Darren Fletcher's run of appearances…
It doesn’t happen by chance. You have to have a little bit of luck with injuries, which he has acknowledged, but he has been prepared to put himself forward week in week out. He has been performing in two sides now on a regular basis, and you don’t do that unless you are actually performing well. He is playing exceptionally well at the moment, he is a great influence within the group and they are qualities you want to see from senior players. He has been a great acquisition for us. People were a little concerned that some of the old guard left in the summer and wondered whether we would be short within the group, but since Darren has come in he has significantly added to the leadership we have here.

The Potters return to action at the bet365 Stadium next Wednesday against Liverpool. Tickets are still available – visit the Ticket Office, visit scfcdirect.com/events or call on (01782) 367599.

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