Hughes: Crouch going nowhere

  • Last Updated: January 24 2014, 17:19 GMT

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has stressed that Potters striker Peter Crouch is not for sale.

Peter Crouch: Linked with Stoke exit
Peter Crouch: Linked with Stoke exit

Peter Crouch

25. Peter Crouch

Title Number
Appearances 12 (7)
Goals 7
Assists 1
Yellows 0
Reds 0
*Current Season

Reports have linked Crouch with a possible move back to his old club QPR and a reunion with their manager Harry Redknapp, who the 32-year-old has played under at various different points in his career.

But asked on Friday whether he would consider letting Crouch go, Hughes said: "No, it is not an option."

Trying to boost Stoke's attack has been a key focus for Hughes during the current transfer window, in which he has already recruited Manchester City's John Guidetti on loan.

Fellow striker Juan Agudelo has also joined, although is spending time on loan with FC Utrecht while the Potters try to secure a work permit for him, and midfielder Stephen Ireland has signed a permanent deal at the Britannia Stadium as well having previously been on loan from Aston Villa.

But Hughes - who says Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic, recently transferred from Everton to Hull, was not a player he had pursued - has been frustrated overall by how things have gone in January so far with regard to Stoke's efforts in the transfer market.

He said: "There was a point where we thought there was a possibility of doing our business quite early, but that hasn't panned out, and we have missed out on a number.

"We have probably been misled somewhat on others as well - in terms of the information we are getting and the plans for certain players.

"You have to shrug your shoulders and move on. It is about making sure at the end of the window, we are stronger than we were at the beginning."

It seems Sunderland's Lee Cattermole may have been a target, but that the prospect the midfielder now has of playing in the Capital One Cup final has seriously reduced any chance of him leaving the Wearsiders.

Asked about Cattermole, Hughes said: "I think, given that Sunderland had a fantastic result the other night - I was there at the game (Sunderland's semi-final second leg at Manchester United), and they played exceptionally well and the player you have mentioned played really well - it is highly unlikely that one will happen."

Stoke face Sunderland away in their next Barclays Premier League match on Wednesday, before which they head to Chelsea for Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie.

Potters striker Kenwyne Jones, who was not considered for selection last time out as a result of his refusal to be involved in the game before that, may be back in the squad.

Hughes said: "In terms of numbers we are a little bit down this week, so he comes into our thinking. He is a contracted player, so he's available.

"He has come in and trained correctly and that is what I would expect from Kenwyne.

"It is a situation we have been through, and there have been discussions about it. Both parties know where they stand at the moment."

Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic could also make his return to action at Stamford Bridge.

Begovic has been sidelined by a broken finger for six matches, during which time Thomas Sorensen and Jack Butland have deputised, with the latter making a particularly positive impression.

Now all three are fit, Hughes admits he has a tricky decision to make.

"I'm very fortunate here at Stoke that I have three exceptionally talented keepers, all at varying stages of their careers," Hughes said.

"It is something I'm going to mull over and I will speak to the guys tomorrow if I feel I need to explain things."

Hughes also said he is yet to decide about Butland, who spent time on loan with Barnsley earlier this season and is hoping to make the England squad for this summer's World Cup, potentially going on loan again.

Guidetti will be assessed having felt ill on Friday, while Robert Huth (knee), Andy Wilkinson (heel) and Matthew Etherington (calf) remain unavailable.

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