Stoke V Sunderland at bet365 Stadium : Match Preview

By
14 October 2016
Stoke V Sunderland - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Stoke boss Mark Hughes is targeting first win of the season against Sunderland

Stoke boss Mark Hughes feels his side's recent performances show they are back on track - but has emphasised nothing but a win will really do against Sunderland on Saturday.

The Potters halted a run of four straight Premier League defeats by drawing their last two games, only being held 1-1 at home by West Brom due to a stoppage-time equaliser from the visitors and then securing the same scoreline at Manchester United.

While encouraged by those displays, Hughes has no doubt 19th-placed Stoke need to chalk up their first league victory of the season this weekend when they host a rock-bottom Black Cats outfit who are the only other winless side in the division.

"We have been really encouraged with our performances the last couple of games and I think everyone can see we are getting back to our levels," the Welshman said on Friday.

"We had a huge result at Old Trafford with a good, confident performance and we are back on track now in our view.

"This is one we need to win and feel we can win. I am more than confident we have the capability in the team to do that.

"It will be difficult, because Sunderland are in a situation they don't want to be in. But we're the home side, and I think the onus is on us to make sure we are positive.

"I think we encouraged the fans with the nature of our performance against West Brom. We were very unlucky not to get a first win on the board then, conceding late on.

"I think the overall feeling after that was we are going in the right direction, that it's only a matter of time.

"It's okay saying that, but you have to get on with it and get those maximum points on the board. And we have a good opportunity at the weekend."

Midfielder Joe Allen will be assessed ahead of Saturday's match having missed Wales' 1-1 draw with Georgia last weekend due to a hamstring problem, with Hughes on Thursday having suggested the 26-year-old "probably did a little bit too much" work with the national team.

Full-back Glen Johnson will definitely not feature because of a thigh injury he suffered in training this week.

David Moyes is so desperate to claim his first Premier League win as Sunderland boss that he does not care how it comes.

Seven league games into his reign the Black Cats sit at the foot of the table with just two points to show for their efforts so far.

But as they head into Saturday's clash, Moyes, who has signalled his intention to play progressive football, admits he would take three points however they arrive.

He said: "I want us to play well - playing well and performing will lead to good results. But I would take a win and if it means doing that, then I'll have to find a way to do it, whatever I can.

"We would love to get a feel-good factor running through the club, I'd love to get that first win under our belts so that we could start to look up.

"But while we are where we are at the moment, we are struggling, so we have to dig in and we have to try to pick up points. If it's one, if it's three, we have to pick up as many points as we can."

Moyes' task is being made all the more difficult by his injury list. Defenders Lamine Kone and Jason Denayer are struggling with hamstring and adductor muscle problems respectively and Vito Mannone, Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchhoff, Adnan Januzaj, Steven Pienaar, Sebastian Larsson and Fabio Borini are already missing.

The Scot said: "I'd have been more worried if they had been picking them up in training, but they have been more in games.

"But the one thing it does it means that lots of young players are getting an opportunity here and also while the squad is small just now, it's a chance to form a bit of toughness, a bit of togetherness and show they can be a team."

Moyes will go head to head with Potters boss Mark Hughes for the 17th time in a league game having lost on just three occasions.

He said with a smile: "Thank you, thank you, just what I need to hear, a good boost.

"I have got to say, they have got a good club, Stoke, they are a club in the Premier League who have built correctly.

"There's a lot of things that at Sunderland we have, but it's a model for stability. It's a long road Stoke have been on. They are on the long road and doing okay with it."


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