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20 August 2015

Mark Hughes: "It will be a difficult test"

Nickname: The Potters
Manager: Mark Hughes
2014-15: 9th
Ground: Britannia Stadium
Fastest road route from Carrow Road: 201.3 miles (3 hours 33 minutes)

Mark Hughes is wary of facing a Norwich City team 'buoyed' by last weekend's win at Sunderland.

Speaking to the media on Thursday afternoon, Stoke City's manager also said that he believes the Canaries' recent Premier League exposure could help them this season.

"They have a lot of experience, and their squad isn't too different from what it was last time they were involved in the Premier League," said the former Wales international.

"Maybe that will benefit them because they haven't made wholesale changes like other newly promoted sides have. They have added a bit of quality to the team, and we know that it will be a very difficult test for us.

"They claimed a good win on the road at Sunderland last week, and they will be buoyed by that."

Xherdan Shaqiri may not have even pulled on a Stoke jersey yet but his arrival has been the source of much excitement on the Potteries.

After a summer-long transfer pursuit, the club revealed Shaqiri on August 11 as their record purchase for a fee of £12m from Inter Milan.

A suspension carried over from his time in Italy means he is likely to make his bow at Carrow Road after missing last weekend's draw at Tottenham.

Shaqiri, 23, will become the first player to play in the Premier League who has also scored a World Cup hat-trick having netted a treble for his native Switzerland against Honduras last summer.

The winger progressed through the ranks as FC Basel, making a high-profile move to Bayern Munich in 2012 and earning a Champions' League winners' medal a year later. He transferred to Inter in January 2015.

Stoke fought back from two goals down to salvage a draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Mame Biram Diouf turned home Stephen Ireland's cross seven minutes from the end to complete a second half turnaround for Mark Hughes' men.

After an opening weekend home defeat to Liverpool, the Potters will have been keen to get off the mark before kick-off but found themselves two goals down at half-time.

Eric Dier nodded the hosts in front on 19 minutes before Nacer Chadli doubled their lead with a back-post volley.

Late in a more competitive second half, Marko Arnautovic converted a penalty to raise Stoke's hopes, and five minutes later Diouf popped up with the equaliser.

Hughes said afterwards: "After the break we understood what we needed to do better, talked about it in the break and came out with more resolve."

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Shay Given, Jakob Haugaard.

Phil Bardsley, Erik Pieters, Mark Muniesa, Glen Johnson, Marc Wilson, Ryan Shawcross (c), Geoff Cameron, Dionatan Teixeira, Philipp Wollscheid, Andy Wilkinson.

Glenn Whelan, Stephen Ireland, Ibrahim Afellay, Marco van Ginkel, Charlie Adam, Steve Sidwell, Xherdan Shaqiri, Ollie Shenton.

Attackers: Peter Odemwingie, Marko Arnautovic, Joselu, Mame Biram Diouf, Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch, Bojan Krkic.

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