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Bony must remain patient, says Hughes

By Phil Medicott

Boss Mark Hughes feels Wilfried Bony has been "unlucky" since joining Stoke but has stressed the importance of players making the most of their opportunities.

The Potters signed Bony from Manchester City in August on a season-long loan and the striker started the next 10 games.

Having scored just twice in that time, he then dropped out of the first XI, and his only Stoke appearance since came as a substitute against Liverpool on December 27.

Bony was at the African Nations Cup with the Ivory Coast in January, then spent a couple of games as an unused substitute again before being left out of the matchday squad entirely.

Meanwhile, Peter Crouch has been scoring for the Staffordshire outfit and they have signed Saido Berahino.

On Thursday, Bony said: "When you hear everything is fine (from your manager) and you don't play, it's crazy."

When asked about that yesterday, Hughes - ahead of his side's clash with Middlesbrough - said: "Wilf's been a little bit unlucky. He had a good run of games when he came here and it is fair to say he didn't score as many as he or I would have liked.

"He went out of the team and then he went to the African Nations Cup. It has been difficult for Wilf to get back in.

"He is just going to have to be patient. When they are out of the side, good players get frustrated.

"When opportunities present themselves, players have to take them. He'll get opportunities I'm sure."

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