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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

We'll Go Strong - Hughes

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MARK HUGHES says that he will be conscious of a heavy fixture schedule when he decides which eleven to go with for Wednesday night's Capital One Cup Quarter-Final clash against his former side Manchester United.

However, he insists that his side are in the competition to win it, and says that mentality will play a part in the starting line-up that he selects for the eagerly-anticipated showdown, which kicks off at 7:45pm tomorrow.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, the Welshman said: "I am aware of the fixtures coming up, and the closeness of matches, but this is a game that we want to win, and that will be shown in the team that I select.

"You do have to be conscious of certain things over this period, because you don't want to burn out your players, but at the same time you want to win matches too - whether they be in the Premier League or in the cup competitions.

"Thankfully, we have a good squad here, and players who are desperate to play and desperate to do well for the club, so whichever eleven I put out, I know that the quality will be there to win the game, should they all perform to the levels that they are capable of."

He added: "The only certain absentee for the game is Robert Huth, who isn't quite ready yet, but Matthew Etherington has come through training well this week, and is back in contention again which is a bonus for us."

Meanwhile, Hughes says his attentions prior to kick-off will be firmly on ensuring that his side are set up right, rather than worrying about the reigning Premier League champions, whose starting line-up he feels is impossible to predict.

"It's a difficult one to gauge which way David will go, because you look at their squad and they have a minimum of three very good players in each position. 

"There are a lot of options available to him, and for us to try and guess the starting eleven would be very difficult. We can probably sound out a number of the starters, but to get the full eleven will be almost impossible.

"As a consequence of that, it is more important for us to concentrate on what we want to do, because if we can get that right, and play to the levels that we know we are capable of then we can win the game."

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