Mark Hughes without a number of players ahead of Stoke City’s clash with Watford


Stoke City boss Mark Hughes will be without several key players ahead of tomorrow’s game against Watford.

The Potters will be looking to pick up points for their fourth consecutive game away from home.

Joe Allen will miss the game through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Bournemouth, while Phil Bardsley is out until the New Year.

“We’re going to miss him because he’s made a huge impact for us,” Hughes said about the midfielder.

“Bardsley will be out for a number of weeks – he has a bit of ligament damage.”

“Thankfully, his injury has coincided with the return of Glenn Johnson, who is fit and well.”

Charlie Adam or summer signing Gianelli Imbula could replace the Welsh star in the starting line-up for their trip to Vicarage Road, but fellow midfielder Geoff Cameron remains out.

“Geoff is still unavailable. We are finding it difficult to progress the injury as quickly as we would like. We just need to be patient because he wants to be part of the team again and he was a big part of our turn around in form when he came back into a team.”

Hughes also revealed Jack Butland will step it up in training again ahead of his return adding: “He’s progressing really well. Next week I imagine he will join in the main group and from that point onwards we will just try and build him up in terms of working with senior players.”

The Potters boss will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Bournemouth at Vicarage Road and is expecting a strong test from Walter Mazzarri’s side.

“They were difficult opponents last year and they’ve had the benefit of another year in the Premier League and they look quite solid at the moment.”

Both captain’s will wear rainbow coloured armbands this weekend to back a Premier League initiative to show support the Rainbow Laces campaign and the LGBT community to promote inclusion within football culture.

Watch the video to see Mark Hughes’ thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s match (additional reporting Joe Thompson):


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