Stoke boss Hughes expects Palace reaction

By dsguser
10 February 2017

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has stressed the importance of his side bracing themselves on Saturday for a Crystal Palace outfit desperate to bounce back from their humiliation last time out.

The two clubs' Premier League meeting at the Bet365 Stadium comes a week on from Palace being thrashed 4-0 at home by fellow relegation candidates Sunderland - all of the goals coming before half-time.

The result left the Eagles level on points in 19th position with bottom club Sunderland, two adrift of safety, and their league record under boss Sam Allardyce showing five defeats and only one win from seven matches so far.

Palace's players were addressed by club chairman Steve Parish immediately after the loss before being called in for an early-morning meeting with Allardyce the next day.

And Hughes said on Friday: "The game will be difficult for us because clearly Palace had a poor performance and result last time out, and you would imagine without a doubt there will be a reaction from them.

"They are struggling a little bit for form and in a bad place - but actually I view it as probably the worst result for us because you know they will be better than they were last week.

"We have to be ready and make sure that we impose our game on them, and not vice versa."

Stoke, who Hughes has guided to a ninth-placed finish in each of the last three seasons, suffered their first defeat in five league matches last weekend as they went down 1-0 at West Brom.

The Potters are currently 11th, two points worse off than ninth-placed West Ham.

And Hughes said: "We are trying to push on. We've just come off the back of a good run and were beaten last weekend, so it is up to us to go on another run."

Stoke are set to once again be without winger Xherdan Shaqiri (calf) and defender Glen Johnson (Achilles) on Saturday.

The pair have each missed the last two games and are nearing returns, but the Palace encounter is likely to come too soon.

Ramadan Sobhi could be back in the matchday squad after completing his African Nations Cup campaign with Egypt, while Geoff Cameron, Jonathan Walters (both knee), Jack Butland (ankle) and Stephen Ireland (broken leg) all remain sidelined.

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