Peter Crouch impresses for Stoke City ahead of Norwich City reunion
- Credit: PA
Mark Hughes may have rested much of his highly-rated attacking talent at the weekend but admits he has been given a fresh selection headache by another of his forwards – former Norwich City loan striker Peter Crouch.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and England hotshot scored in the Potters' 2-1 win at Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
The tall 34-year-old took the chance to press his claims ahead of the visit of the Canaries to the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League tomorrow night.
He was one of nine changes to Stoke's starting line-up – from the 1-0 home loss to Liverpool in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final – as Hughes gave Bojan, Ibrahim Afellay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic the weekend off.
'They will be back in on Monday and be ready to go for Wednesday,' Hughes confirmed.
It was the performance of Crouch which has added to his selection decisions though, as the striker prepares to face the team he helped to win the Division One title by scoring four goals in 15 games when on loan from Aston Villa during the 2003/04 season.
'I've got a number of players in a similar situation as Peter because I haven't been able to give them as many games as he would have liked,' Hughes continued, speaking to the Stoke Sentinel.
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'But we are going into the second part of the season and are going to need everybody.
'It was an opportunity for Peter to come in and give me something to think about – and scoring a goal hasn't done his claims any harm.
'We gave him a new contract at the beginning of the year (2015), so I think that shows how much we value him.
'He's been as patient as anybody and when I give him an opportunity you hope he comes in and shows his quality… and he's done that.'
Hughes was tight-lipped about the Potters' chances of signing West Brom striker Saido Berahino though, saying: 'There was some mention of it but it would be wrong for me to talk about players from other clubs.
'We are looking in the window and if there's opportunities we will pursue them.'
Asked if he was aware of Berahino's apparent availability, Hughes said: 'Yes, of course, but I can't tell you anything because nothing has progressed. I've been busy.'
One player who may be leaving the Potteries is Irish midfielder Stephen Ireland, who is considering interest from Abu Dhabi team Al Jazira.
The former Manchester City and Aston Villa players has made just eight appearances this season.