Belfast Telegraph

Mark Hughes hoping Stoke's Wilfried Bony will shine against former club Swansea

Mark Hughes hopes playing against his former club can inspire Wilfried Bony to break his Stoke duck.

The striker joined Stoke on a season-long loan from Manchester City but has so far failed to score in seven games.

On Monday he comes up against Swansea, the club for whom he averaged a goal every other game between January 2013 and 2015.

Bony is one of two former Swans players in the Stoke side along with midfielder Joe Allen, who in contrast has proved unexpectedly prolific, netting four times in his last four games.

Hughes said: "There's plenty of examples in the past where former players have come back and haunted their former clubs, so we hope that's going to happen again.

"They're both playing well at the moment. Joe obviously is getting the headlines because of his goal exploits. He's playing exceptionally well and we're really pleased with what he's doing.

"Wilf is playing well enough as well. We're hopeful that he's going to get off the mark. We feel he's close to that. His work's good, his link-up play is good, he just needs to get on the end of something in the box.

"Once he does that he could well be a little bit like myself. I was quite a streaky striker, I'd go on little runs where I'd score four or five and then not score for five or six and then get back on track again.

"I think that comes from maybe playing with your back to goal. Sometimes you're involved in the early part of moves and you don't benefit directly but your team-mates do by running beyond.

"We've seen Joe doing that and our wide guys as well. It's working at the moment, but for Wilf's benefit really we want him off the mark."

Bony's form for Swansea persuaded City to shell out £25million for him in January 2015 but he failed to make much of an impression at the Etihad, scoring just six Premier League goals.

Hughes admits the 27-year-old is short on confidence.

"He's a powerful guy. He's very difficult to get the ball off," the Potters boss said. "You can see that he's a little bit frustrated at the moment because he feels he should be bringing goals to the team, but we appreciate the work he's putting in.

"He had an opportunity last weekend. If he was playing with confidence and had scored more goals, maybe that one would have been taken. That can happen when you haven't scored for a while."

Hughes remembers well what it was like to play a former club and believes it can give Bony extra impetus.

"It's a bit of an ego thing - you want to show people that you've improved as a player," he said.

"Sometimes when you've been at a club for a long time like I was at Manchester United, you want to show them you've still got a bit of life left in you.

"That's not the case with Wilfried. He's gone on to bigger things and wants to show people clearly that he's progressed since he left a very good club."

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