Hughes welcomes Huth injury update

Stoke boss Mark Hughes welcomed the news Robert Huth could be back before Christmas after going under the knife.

Stoke vs Reading: Huth, Etherington

The key defender had exploratory knee surgery and was badly missed as the Potters lost 4-0 at Everton last Saturday.

Hughes said: "We're really pleased. It's as good as we could have hoped for. We didn't know the extent of the injury until the surgeon actually went in and had a look.

"He found an issue with the knee that needed addressing and repairing and that's been done. By all accounts prior to the operation, the best-case scenario was what we found.

"Thankfully, if everything goes well, he could be back in three or four weeks.

"Knowing Robert, he continues to surprise me in terms of how well he gets back from little niggles and he will always put his hand up if there's any opportunity to play.

"That's a great trait that he has. Maybe in the past it has been to his detriment because he's probably played and compromised himself."

Huth's deputy was Marc Muniesa, whose Premier League debut did not go as he would have hoped.

Hughes must now decide whether to stick with the former Barcelona man against Cardiff.

Full-back Geoff Cameron plays at centre-back for the United States and could move into the centre, while Marc Wilson is another option.

Hughes was keen not to blame Huth's absence for the scoreline, saying: "It's too easy and too convenient to say that because we didn't have Robert, that was the reason we got beat.

"There were other parts of our game we didn't execute well enough. You'll always miss Robert's experience and his presence, and he comes across to the opposition as a huge barrier to overcome.

"I thought Marc did okay. I thought it was important that I tested Marc at Premier League level.

"Obviously Brek Shea got a little bit bit of the game as well, so it was a case of making sure everybody has an understanding of the Premier League. We've got lots of games coming up so we're going to have to use everybody.

"Marc certainly wasn't the reason we got beaten, I thought he was one of our better performers in the back four. We just need to be a little bit better collectively."

Stoke are also expected to be without forward Marko Arnautovic, who is still recovering from a hamstring strain, while striker Jonathan Walters is a doubt with a thigh problem.

Remarkably, the Republic of Ireland international has started Stoke's last 102 Premier League games.

Whoever plays, Hughes is confident the side will react in the right way to their Goodison Park mauling.

The Welshman felt the timing of the goals was the biggest factor, with Everton opening the scoring just before half-time and then adding a second four minutes after the break.

"There are key moments and periods in games where you have to make sure you're nice and solid," he said.

"Everton on the day were probably better than us and deserved to win. The scoreline didn't make great reading for us but that was because we were trying to get into the game and they hit us on the break.

"We'll get a response on Wednesday. It's a key game for us, a big opportunity to get more points on the board and we're looking forward to it.

"We've had a good reaction. They were a little bit quiet on Monday but that's understandable because we were disappointed. They've trained well the last couple of days and now the key is that we pick ourselves up and get going again."

Stoke ended a run of eight games without a win by beating Sunderland in their most recent outing at the Britannia Stadium and go into Wednesday's clash level on points with Cardiff just above the relegation zone.



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