Belfast Telegraph

Bojan could find it tough - Hughes

The Premier League's relentless Christmas schedule "could be a hard period" for Stoke striker Bojan Krkic, according to boss Mark Hughes.

Bojan suffered a hip injury in Stoke's 1-1 Premier League draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday, prompting Hughes to admit the Spain forward may find his first Christmas in England tough going.

The 24-year-old should recover in time to face Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium on Monday, December 22, but Hughes conceded Stoke will monitor the former Barcelona forward closely across the festive schedule.

"Yeah we've talked about it," said Hughes of how Bojan will cope without the winter break favoured by continental leagues.

"At the moment he's really enjoying his football and playing week in week out.

"So I think we can ride that wave to a certain extent, he's happy with what he's doing and how he's playing so for now we just go with it.

"There may be games where you see the little edge to his game just appearing, we'll see how it goes, but we're mindful of the fact that as he hasn't been through it before it could be a hard period for him."

Hughes admitted Stoke lost their creative edge when Bojan limped off after taking a heavy bang to the hip at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The former Manchester United and Wales striker conceded Stoke must find more ways to link midfield and attack.

"In the second-half we weren't able to retain the ball as well, but Peter (Crouch) was always making himself available," said Hughes.

"We just missed that influence of Bojan in the second-half, that left him more isolated so it's more difficult for him to make an impression.

"The best way for him to make an impression though is to score goals, and it was important we got back on level terms as quickly as possible.

"So thankfully the ball broke to him and he was able to put it away."

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