Belfast Telegraph

Moses is not Hughes' main focus

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has stressed now is not the right time for discussions with Chelsea about whether Victor Moses might stay with the Potters beyond his current loan deal.

Moses has shone in Hughes' team since joining on a season-long loan from the Blues over the summer.

But it was suggested this week that the 23-year-old winger currently views his long-term future as being with the London outfit, with him being quoted as saying on the matter: "I'm still a Chelsea player."

Asked for his thoughts about the situation at his press conference to preview Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash at Tottenham, Hughes said of Nigeria international Moses: "He is absolutely right in saying that he is still a Chelsea player.

"We are delighted with what he is producing and that was the key from everybody's point of view - that he would come here, play games, and get back on track.

"Chelsea wanted him to get his confidence levels up again. So as we stand here and now, I think everyone is winning.

"But further than that, you can't really comment.

"He is certainly enjoying his time here, but his parent club have benefited as well and we are not at the point yet where we are going to have conversations about Victor's future, because it is not the right time to do it."

Stoke have striker Peter Crouch and defenders Phil Bardsley and Marc Muniesa back available for Sunday's game, while forward Marko Arnautovic remains in line to feature despite breaking his hand.

Former Spurs man Crouch and Bardsley sat out the 2-2 home draw with West Ham last Saturday due to suspensions, while Muniesa was nursing an ankle problem.

Although Arnautovic is not expected to be kept out by the injury he suffered in training earlier this week, the same cannot be said of defender Dionatan Teixeira, who broke his foot on the same day and is set to be out for six to eight weeks.

Hughes said: "We had a poor day on Wednesday, with a couple of breaks. Dionatan Teixeira got stood on and broke a bone in his foot, so he is going to be out for six to eight weeks I think.

"Marko Arnautovic has broken his hand, but we're hopeful the cast he has got is going to be okay for him and he will be allowed to play with it."

Teixeira has joined Robert Huth (calf), Glenn Whelan (broken leg) and Peter Odemwingie (knee) on the sidelines.

Whelan was included in the Republic of Ireland squad announced last week and Hughes has emphasised that Stoke do not feel the midfielder is ready for action.

Asked if Whelan had been withdrawn from the Ireland squad, Hughes said: "No, I don't think so, but as a club we don't think he is ready.

"He is training with the physios and making good progress, but he has not joined in any training sessions with us and there is not a plan to do that.

"Probably Ireland are within their rights to call him up to be assessed, but our view is that he is not ready - if we had a game this time next week, he wouldn't be playing for us because it would be too much of a risk.

"I'm sure Glenn will meet up with Ireland and then their FA will have to make the correct decision.

"Our medical department have spoken to their doctor, giving updates. We haven't tried to influence that decision as yet."

Meanwhile, Hughes is set to speak to referees' chief Mike Riley next week about "observations" he has made in recent Stoke games.

The Potters boss was critical of referee Chris Foy for taking taking no action over West Ham midfielder Alex Song's rash-looking tackle on Stoke forward Mame Biram Diouf in the build-up to the visitors' first goal during last weekend's match.

And in terms of speaking to Professional Game Match Officials Limited head Riley, Hughes said on Friday: "I think there are meetings planned for next week, just because we felt we had observations that we made as a club in certain games, and we just need a little bit of clarification.

"We're pleased they have accepted our invitation and we can have conversations early next week I think."

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