By Johnny Edward:
Stoke City manager, Mark Hughes has expressed shock at Leicester City's poor away form this season, but hint that his team will not be influenced by that and become complacent ahead of their EPL clash at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
The Foxes have only picked one point away from home this season and despite that, Hughes does not think Claudio Ranieri's men will go down without a big fight despite their poor form on the road.
"It's always difficult after winning the title, and Leicester are finding that out," Hughes said during his pre-match conference on Friday.
"Their away form has been surprising this season because they set-up to play on the counter-attack and you would expect them to have picked more points up on the road.
"Maybe teams have looked at their style of play, which hasn't changed.
"I don't think there is any fear of them going down this season – they are just struggling for continuity in terms of results. You can see the ability they have – they will be fine. They will just be a little frustrated."
He also ruled out giving Stoke City players a break during the festive periods due to their crucial fixtures during the yuletide.
The former Manchester City boss also added that he has no injury worries to his team, just as he welcomes Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa back to the squad as the season gets into the busy Christmas and end of year period.
"I enjoy it (Christmas) – we are quite a unique country that we play over this period, but that is a tradition of British football," Hughes added during his pre-match conference.
"A few of the lads come here and scratch their heads wondering what is going on, but they soon buy into it. I loved it as a player and I love it as a manager too. There is always a really good atmosphere around the stadiums, and hopefully we can bring a bit of cheer to our supporters.
"We have a decent looking schedule on paper, given the days between matches and distances we will be travelling, but we know how difficult the two games, against
Liverpool and Chelsea will be."
Hughes also revealed that he will be targeting new players in January.
"We are constantly looking at opportunities and I am sure we will be getting calls in January.
"It isn't an easy window to navigate, I have said that before. You can do good work in January and not get a player over the line, but it helps out in the summer. That
happened with Xherdan Shaqiri a couple of years ago.
"There is money there, and if a player becomes available who we feel will help us then I am sure we will be able to get it done. We want players who will make a major impact straight away rather than squad players."