Stoke V Burnley at bet365 Stadium : Match Preview

02 December 2016
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Mark Hughes invites Ottmar Hitzfeld to watch Stoke after German criticises side

Mark Hughes has invited former Switzerland boss Ottmar Hitzfeld to the bet365 Stadium to watch Stoke following the German's criticism of his side.

Hitzfeld, hugely successful during his time in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund and then Bayern Munich, told a Swiss newspaper this week that he hopes Xherdan Shaqiri will not stay stuck in "no man's land" with Stoke, who he described as unexciting, and that they should be no more than a stepping stone for the midfielder to earn himself a move back to a big club.

The 67-year-old managed Shaqiri while in charge of the Swiss national team and believes the player left Bayern too soon to join Inter Milan, where he stayed just six months before joining Stoke for B#12million in the summer of 2015.

However, Hughes insists Shaqiri is happy at Stoke and thinks Hitzfeld should educate himself about English football.

"Maybe he needs to come to a game at the weekend and experience a game at the stadium and see the excitement and energy of Premier League football. I'm sure he would enjoy it," said Hughes.

"He's speaking from maybe a place where he doesn't understand the Premier League and hasn't experienced many games at the bet365.

"He (Shaqiri) loves playing for Stoke and he's doing very well at the moment and you don't do that if you're not happy.

"Maybe he should have spoken to Shaq before he came out with that comment."

Influential midfielder Joe Allen is available again after serving a one-match ban and the Wales international, Stoke's leading scorer this season, is expected to be restored to the starting line-up against Burnley.

Glenn Whelan has trained this week following a calf complaint and should be fit, but captain Ryan Shawcross (calf) remains a doubt and knee injuries keep Geoff Cameron and Phil Bardsley sidelined.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche will have no qualms if he needs to turn to 37-year-old goalkeeper Paul Robinson again with Tom Heaton still struggling with his calf problem.

The Clarets, winless on their travels since returning to the Premier League, go to Stoke's bet365 Stadium, which was the site of their maiden away victory in their top-flight campaign two years ago.

They may be without England stopper Heaton once more, though, as he is unlikely to overcome the issue which forced Robinson into action last weekend against Manchester City when the veteran made his first top-flight appearance in four years.

Robinson won praise from Dyche for his performance in the 2-1 defeat and has shown his manager enough to ensure Heaton will not be hurried back into action should his condition remain the same in the 48 hours before the game.

"Tom - he's touch and go, we will give him another 24 hours then make a decision," Dyche said.

"It's just the nature of it. It's down to the end of the injury. Then it's a judgement call about whether you want to risk that or not. Robbo certainly delivered a good performance, ably assisted by Nick Pope.

"I'm not going to make a drastic decision on it or one where I think it's going to put him at risk. On the other hand, if he says, 'I'm absolutely clear' that will be a different conversation."

Heaton is not the only injury concern for the Stoke clash after Dean Marney (back) and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) were both forced off against City.

The Icelandic winger has definitely been ruled out, though Dyche said Marney had a "strong chance" of featuring.

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