Belfast Telegraph

Hughes unconcerned by home form

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has no doubt a trip to the Britannia Stadium will soon again instil fear into visiting sides.

City's home form has consistently been the bedrock of their ability to retain their Barclays Premier League status since being promoted in 2008.

Last season the club lost just three games on home soil, with only the top four - Manchester City, Liverpool Chelsea and Arsenal - boasting a better record in front of their own fans.

Remarkably, Stoke have started the current campaign with back-to-back home defeats, losing both matches 1-0 to midlands rivals Aston Villa and Leicester.

Next up for the Potters on Monday is a clash with bottom-of-the-table Newcastle, with Hughes warning: "The Britannia is still a tough place to come.

"We're aware teams will probably set up a little bit differently than they have in the past.

"Teams have come thinking they can have a real go at us and we've got to be able to deal with that.

"With the quality we've got there's no reason why we can't, so we're not too concerned with the home form.

"We all feel it will resolve itself very, very quickly. It is only a matter of time."

The tables have turned markedly for Stoke as the away form has often been their undoing, with the club winning just five of 38 matches on the road over the past two seasons.

This term, however, they have started brightly with a win and two draws on their travels, whilst they also beat Sunderland away on Tuesday to reach the last 16 of the Capital One Cup.

Addressing the topsy-turvy nature of City's season to date, Hughes added: "What we talked about at the start of the season was the need to align our away form with that at home - we've gone a little awry on that.

"But we're very enthused and encouraged by what we're doing on our travels, which has improved markedly since I came in last year.

"On that basis, and as I say, we feel very confident our home form will turn very quickly."

Unlike Newcastle counterpart Alan Pardew who has been the subject of the fans' ire given his sides' wretched start to the season, Hughes at least has City's supporters on his side.

"They were great against Leicester," said Hughes.

"They understand we're not a million miles away from it all coming together."

Hughes has no fresh injury concerns, with only midfielder Jonathan Walters a doubt with a calf problem.

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