Hughes impressed with Butland display

Mark Hughes described Jack Butland as "an outstanding young keeper" after Stoke saw off Championship leaders Leicester to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

England goalkeeper Butland made his first start for the club and pulled off several fine saves as Stoke held on to a 2-1 victory at the Britannia Stadium.

The 20-year-old spent the first half of the season on loan at Barnsley and has found himself with an unexpected opportunity to push his World Cup credentials after returning to his parent club.

Stoke number one Asmir Begovic suffered a badly broken finger just before Christmas and will be missing for several weeks, and number two Thomas Sorensen picked up an Achilles problem against Everton on Wednesday.

Butland came on for his Potters debut at half-time and on Saturday showed why he was given his senior England debut as a teenager.

An early save from Anthony Knockaert stopped Leicester taking the lead, and as the Foxes piled on the pressure in the latter stages, Butland denied both David Nugent and Lloyd Dyer.

Stoke boss Hughes said: "I thought we showed a lot of control in the game. Obviously we were expecting the opposition to come out flying and they did in the first five or 10 minutes. We had to just get through that.

"We scored two good goals. It gave them a little bit of encouragement with the goal we conceded so the last five or 10 minutes was a little bit frenetic, we had to defend well.

"I thought Jack stepped up to the mark over that period, making two good saves for us. I thought he was really assured in his work today and showed what everybody at the club knows, and most people outside the club know, that he's an outstanding young keeper."

Butland was beaten in the 77th minute by a fine Nugent header, which made it a slightly uncomfortable finish to the game for Stoke, who had taken a two-goal lead through Kenwyne Jones and Charlie Adam.

Jones was making his first start for more than three months while Adam would have been happy to make headlines of a different kind after the controversy of his tackle on Tottenham midfielder Paulinho last weekend.

Hughes said: "Collectively we were good today. It was important that we paid the competition and the opposition the right level of respect and I thought we did that.

"I was able to go quite strong. I thought it was important to pick the same back four because Jack hasn't played too often with them. It was important he had the benefit of that because he's going to be in goal for a couple of weeks I would suggest.

"I wanted to give Kenwyne a run-out because he's been very patient, and he hasn't played because Peter Crouch has done very well for me. He's come in and acquitted himself very well, got a good goal and could have got a couple more.

"Charlie once again has had an effect on the game in a positive manner, scored a great goal and could have had another one."

The defeat brought to an end Leicester's run of four straight victories.

Boss Nigel Pearson kept top scorers Nugent and Dyer on the bench until 22 minutes from time, with the pair adding a much-needed goal threat.

Pearson said: "We couldn't have gone out there with a similar side to the one we've been churning out some good results with because you get to a point where players will hit a physical wall - and sometimes a mental wall as well.

"We did okay in patches but probably didn't manage the ball as well as we're capable of.

"You've got to give them credit. When you give the ball away against a Premier League side, you have to work hard to get it back and I think they're probably a better side than people give them credit for.

"We didn't quite play as well as we can do but we still gave a decent account of ourselves. We had our moments but not enough of them."

Pearson, meanwhile, hinted there could be truth in reports linking the club with veteran striker Kevin Phillips, who is a free agent after leaving Crystal Palace.

The Foxes manager said: "The last time I worked with him (at West Brom) he scored a hat-trick so it would be a bit silly not to be partly interested - but we'll see what happens."



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