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Ireland out with hamstring injury

Midfielder Stephen Ireland will miss Stoke's FA Cup third-round clash against Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester because of a hamstring problem.

Ireland joins goalkeepers Asmir Begovic (broken finger) and Thomas Sorensen (Achilles) and defenders Robert Huth (knee) and Andy Wilkinson (heel) on the sidelines.

Jack Butland will make his full debut in goal for Stoke with 19-year-old Austrian Dan Bachmann on the bench, while defender Ryan Shotton is also in contention after returning from a loan spell at Wigan.

Stoke take on the Championship leaders and Hughes' own proud record in the competition means he will be taking the game very seriously.

When asked by BBC West Midlands whether this weekend's fixtures were something Premier League clubs would rather avoid, Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert said: "If they were being honest, they probably would do."

Hughes insisted that was certainly not the case for him, saying: "I've always said there's only certain competitions that we have a realistic chance of having a good run at and the FA Cup is one of them.

"I'm not sure of Paul's record in the FA Cup; from my point of view I was fortunate enough to play in five cup finals and win four of them and it was a fantastic experience, so why would you want to deny yourself and your club the opportunity to go to a cup final?

"It's a marvellous occasion and something, as a football person, you should want to do. I think if you manage your squad well enough then you can have a cup run and you can actually help your league form as well."

Jamie Vardy comes back into the reckoning for Leicester.

Vardy missed the 3-1 Championship win over Millwall through suspension but returns to the Foxes squad to boost manager Nigel Pearson's striking options for the third-round tie.

Pearson made five changes to the starting line-up at The Den after going with the same XI for the previous three matches. Full-backs Ritchie De Laet and Paul Konchesky, midfielders Danny Drinkwater and Matty James and strikers Martyn Waghorn and Jeff Schlupp are among those players vying for recalls.

Defender Sean St. Ledger (groin) and strikers Tom Hopper (shin) and Chris Wood (hamstring) remain unavailable through injury.

Source : PA

Source: PA