Stoke V Walsall at Britannia Stadium : Match Preview

27 August 2013 05:02
Stoke V Walsall - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hughes to pick a strong side

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has stressed his intention to field a "strong" team for the Capital One Cup second-round home clash with Sky Bet League One outfit Walsall.

The Potters - then managed by Tony Pulis - were beaten by a visiting third-tier side in the second round of the competition last year as Swindon emerged after extra-time with a 4-3 victory at the Britannia Stadium.

Pulis had made six changes to his first XI on that occasion and his successor Hughes, wary of not giving the opposition enough respect in terms of selection, says he is only looking to make "one or two" adjustments from Saturday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League home win against Crystal Palace.

"I don't give up competitions lightly," Hughes told

"We want to do well in it and we want to progress in it, so I'll be putting out a strong team. There will be one or two changes but nothing wholesale.

"We've got a few bumps and bruises and we've got to protect guys who played against Palace but I'll be going strong in the team in the competition because I want to progress.

"Sometimes there are shocks in the competition because perhaps teams don't give the opposition enough respect in terms of their team selection.

"I've been bitten by that in the past and I didn't like the feeling so hopefully it won't happen again."

One player who could come into the side for his Stoke debut is winger Oussama Assaidi, who completed his season-long loan switch from Liverpool on Tuesday.

Fit-again pair Wilson Palacios and Brek Shea are poised for a return to first-team involvement, but fellow midfielder Jamie Ness (thigh) is not yet ready to feature.

Stoke head into the fixture with assistant manager Mark Bowen admitting "the monkey is off the back" for Hughes and him after the Palace result.

Not only was it a victory for the pair in their first competitive home game at Stoke that brought their first points since taking charge over the summer - it was also the first home win they had overseen since August 2012, and their first in the Premier League since May of that year.

Following the May win, Hughes' QPR went six home league matches without victory before he was sacked in November.

And asked about the Palace triumph, Bowen said: "I think there is no doubt that we felt a little bit of pressure.

"It had been a while, but thankfully the monkey is off the back and we can move on.

"I think we were conscious that if things, as they do in football, go wrong for any reason, it is brought up again and again. So that can be put behind us and we move on."

Bowen was sitting in for Hughes at Tuesday's pre-match press conference while the manager continued to pursue transfer targets.

"The reason I'm doing this is that Mark is using every hour," said Bowen, who insisted he was unaware of any bids being made for Stoke players.

"He finished training and was then rushing off to watch games and meet and speak to people with a view to strengthening the team and the squad."

Walsall manager Dean Smith could welcome back defender Andy Taylor.

The former Sheffield United full-back has yet to feature for the Saddlers this campaign due to an ankle injury he sustained in pre-season but is now fit and available for selection.

Smith has no fresh injury or suspension concerns and has options open to him should he wish to mix things up.

Midfield trio Romaine Sawyers, Nicky Featherstone and James McQuilkin are all pushing for a place in the starting XI.

Source: PA