Stoke City Manager Mark Hughes Confident of Riding Storm

mark-hughes

Stoke manager Mark Hughes believes the club can cope with the injuries that are beginning to pile up.

Midfielders Steve Sidwell and Glenn Whelan are the latest to join the casualty list that also includes Victor Moses (thigh), Robert Huth (calf), Peter Odemwingie (knee) and Dionatan Teixeira (broken foot).

Influential centre-back Huth, who has not played a league game for a year after suffering setbacks while recovering from a long-term knee injury, is at least closing in on a comeback.

The virus that swept through the training ground last week also appears to have been cleared, with Phil Bardsley back in the squad for Tuesday's clash at Manchester United after missing Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Liverpool because of the bug.

It was at Anfield, though, where Sidwell and Whelan suffered their injuries, with the latter out for up to six weeks with a grade two tear of a medial knee ligament, whilst replacement Whelan picked up a calf muscle problem and is out of the trip to Old Trafford, and almost certainly Saturday's visit of Arsenal.

Hughes said: "Steve has had a scan and it's slightly better news because we thought he would be out for six to eight weeks.

"But it's not as severe a tear and he is now likely to be out for four to six weeks.

"It's a blow to us with the amount of games we have coming up, but at least we're encouraged by the better news.

"Glenn, meanwhile, has been checked over and it's not a pull, which is also good news, but he's not available for tomorrow.

"These injuries of late have coincided with the illness that broke out last week, which we could have done without.

"We cleared people out of the training ground which enabled us to keep it away from the majority of the senior squad.

"A few went down with it, but if we hadn't have done what we did then we might have been more greatly affected than we were in the end.

"Hopefully now we're over this one.

"As for the injuries, you can't really avoid them because they're occurring in matches and they're difficult to legislate for, even though you try to do everything correctly.

"There's not a great deal we can do about it. It's just a phase we are going through and we're trying to make the best of it."

With the transfer window re-opening in a month, there is an opportunity for Hughes to strengthen should he need to exploit it.

"If the injuries continue we are going to have to make sure we're not exposed and leave ourselves too open," added Hughes.

"The fact we have good players to come in has helped us during this period, but of course we don't want it to continue. We want it to resolve itself.

"Hopefully given time that's what will happen and we will be able to welcome players back.

"You've got to be strong enough to cope, and thankfully we are as we have strength in depth, and that's what we prepared for at the start of the season

"But if in January we've lost any to long-term injuries – and touch wood we don't – then we'll look at it, but at the moment we're okay."

After back-to-back defeats, Hughes could not have asked for a more difficult task with which to resurrect his side's fortunes than going up against his old club who have won their last three matches.

"We've had the two losses, but in terms of performances I've been pleased enough," said Hughes.

"They seem to have run into a little bit of form unfortunately from our point of view.

"If we'd faced them earlier then maybe it would have been easier, but they've had three wins on the trot and they seem to be getting to grips with what the manager wants and how he wants them to play.

"We'll have to play very well, we have to accept that.

"But in terms of confidence going into a game at Old Trafford we're not affected because we've proven this year we can give a good account of ourselves no matter who we play."

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