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HUGHTON ON STOKE CLASH

27 September 2013

Manager confirms inclusion of Josh Murphy in squad for Stoke

CHRIS Hughton offered a mixed bag when discussing his selection options ahead of Sunday’s trip to Stoke City – although he did confirm that Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Josh Murphy will travel with the squad.

That news was offset by the doubts surrounding Team Captain Sebastien Bassong’s fitness, who City’s manager said will be assessed in the lead up to the game.

“He’s doubtful, but we’re going to give him right up until the last moment. The good news is that it’s not quite as bad as we thought it might have been at the time,” said Hughton.

“Ricky van Wolfswinkel is ok though, he’s trained this morning so he’ll be fine.”

Murphy made headlines on Tuesday with his stunning goal and influential display off the bench against Watford in the Capital One Cup, and Hughton felt that and his general development in recent months merits him being included for the trip.

“Josh will be in the squad, and that’s probably on not only the performance but also his form before Tuesday. He’s had a good season with the development squad, and was with us in America.

“At the moment, he’s at a level where he deserves to be in the squad.”

Speaking with City having picked up four points from their opening five Premier League games, Hughton admits it’s not been an ideal start, but says it’s early days in a long campaign.

“We would want to be better placed than where we are, but we also have to realise that we’re just five games into a new season and there are five teams who are only one point better off than we are,” he explained.

“It’s not a time or stage to panic. You have to stay calm through this period, and have the belief and the belief in the abilities of the team. We’re very early in the season to be making judgements.”

On the Stoke City challenge, Hughton added: “Every game that we play – at home or away – is an opportunity to get three points and that’s the way you have to look at it.

“I think their style of play has changed. How dramatically? I don’t know. What Tony Pulis did in the seven years that he was there was magnificent. He got them promotion to the division and they’ve been a very stable and regular Premier League team.

“I think Mark has got different ideas, but the personnel in the team are the players that were there last season mainly.

“We’ll take a fabulous support away from home, as we always do, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re very much in the game.”


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