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Stoke V Aston Villa at Britannia Stadium : LIVE

By: Tyrone King Updated 15 Aug 2014 19:00:02

Stoke V Aston Villa at Britannia Stadium : LIVE

Stoke V Aston Villa - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Hughes targets further signings

Stoke boss Mark Hughes is hopeful of adding more new players to his squad before the end of the current transfer window.

Hughes has declared himself "very pleased" with the business he has done so far, which has seen him recruit Bojan Krkic, Mame Biram Diouf, Steve Sidwell, Phil Bardsley and Dionatan Teixeira - all of whom could all make their competitive Potters debuts in the club's Barclays Premier League opener against Aston Villa on Saturday.

But the Welsh manager, already with a fully fit group to select from for the match at the Britannia Stadium, is keen to keep bringing bodies in.

Hughes recently admitted his interest in Norwich's England Under-21 winger Nathan Redmond, and speaking on Friday at his pre-match press conference to preview the Villa clash, he said: "We are still hopeful on a number of fronts.

"We just have to bide our time. I think a lot things are dictated by people other than ourselves, so you just have to wait for the process to run its course and we'll see where we are at the end of it."

A new arrival getting Stoke fans particularly excited is Bojan, the Spanish forward who has joined on a four-year deal from Barcelona.

The 23-year-old also has a stint with Roma and loan spells at both AC Milan and Ajax on his CV.

And he has made a positive impression already for his new club, scoring three goals in pre-season friendlies.

"The fans have had a little bit of a taster - they have seen him in pre-season and he has done very well," Hughes said of Bojan.

"He is a talented boy. I think everyone can see the level of ability he has.

"He has scored some great goals, so that's whetted everybody's appetite.

"I do think we have to understand he is coming into a new league.

"We saw a similar situation with Marko Arnautovic last year and it took him until New Year to really get to grips with what was required - then, once he did, he had an impact.

"We might have to be patient and bide our time with Bojan, although given the level of his ability, you sense that very quickly he'll come to terms with what is required and he will be a real impact player for us.

"He is used to winning and playing in big games.

"I've seen enough in pre-season to see we have an exceptionally talented young player. He is only 23 and to bring him to the club is a real coup for us."

Summer signings Joe Cole, Philippe Senderos, Kieran Richardson and Aly Cissokho could all make their competitive debuts for Villa.

Boss Paul Lambert will check the condition of both Cole (thigh) and World Cup semi-finalist Ron Vlaar ahead of the match but is optimistic the pair will be able to feature, while long-term absentee Jores Okore is in contention for his first competitive appearance since September having recovered from a serious knee problem.

There could also be comebacks for Charles N'Zogbia, out for all of last season with an Achilles injury, as well as Alan Hutton and Darren Bent, who have previously been exiled from the Villa first-team and out on loan. Christian Benteke (Achilles) and Libor Kozak (broken leg) remain sidelined.

It has been a summer of uncertainty in many ways for Villa, particularly with the club still owned at this point by Randy Lerner despite his announcement in May that he was intending to sell.

Nonetheless, Lambert is adamant the midlands outfit are "really healthy".

"This is a fantastic club, and the state of the club is what it is," the manager said when asked about the situation with Lerner.

"The club is a really healthy place.

"The main thing for me is to get the team going and improving a lot on what we did last year.

"As I have said before, the last two years have not been good enough. We have to aim a lot higher than that. As a group, everybody, we have to do better."



PA

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