Mark Hughes eyes top half finish for Stoke City

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Mark HughesStoke City boss Mark Hughes hopes Peter Odemwingie can help the Potters push for a top half finish in the Premier League.

Striker Odemwingie joined Stoke City from Cardiff City as part of a swap deal for out of favour Kenwyne Jones in January, and scored his first goal in the 2-2 draw away at Southampton.

And Hughes has high praise for his new acquisition.

He said: “He runs in behind with pace, has a cool head and takes his chances.

“He has a good personality, and the initial reaction is really good. Overall, I am really pleased.”

Hughes was speaking ahead of Stoke’s game against Swansea tomorrow (February 12) at the Britannia Stadium.

The Potters lie a point behind the Swans after suffering five defeats in their last ten games, and the manager knows the importance of getting the three points tomorrow night.

“Our main aim is to finish in the top half which is a challenge for everyone.

“When there are so many teams same points area, you need to take points off the teams around you.”

Hughes said the fans have a vital role to play for the remaining games of the season.

He said: “They are a massive bonus, and when we get them up and bouncing it makes it difficult for visiting teams.

“Home games determine how good a season you are having. We have a good record at home this season, we’ve beaten Chelsea and (Manchester) United and our overall form has been very good this year.”

Swansea City finished a turbulent week on a positive note after beating Welsh rivals Cardiff on Saturday.

“We know Swansea are coming off the back of a derby win but we are in good form too,” Hughes added.

“They wanted a new manager bounce and that’s exactly what they got.”

Hughes briefly met new Swansea boss Gary Monk in his playing career at their time at Southampton had a few words of advice for his managerial counterpart.

“It becomes more difficult the longer you’re in the game. It’s a great opportunity and he’s made a great start and you can see he knows the club inside out.

“I remember when we were together at the start of his playing career and now we are meeting again at the beginning of his managerial career. ”

Oussama Assaidi is a doubt for Stoke with a hamstring injury, while Marco Arnautovic is also a doubt with an ankle problem.

Marc Wilson will miss the game due to illness and joins Robert Huth on the sidelines who is out with a back injury.

View StaffsLive’s video of Mark Hughes at the club’s press conference (below)

 

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