Hughes eager to test Hull fragility

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes says Saturday's trip to Hull City represents an "opportunity" for his side against potentially "fragile" opposition.

Hull were thrashed 6-1 at Bournemouth last weekend in Mike Phelan's first game in permanent charge and Hughes is hoping the scars of that chastening defeat are still evident at the KCOM Stadium.

"Everybody is pleased on the back of the Sunderland win," said the Welshman. "We showed good signs leading into the game. We are three unbeaten now.

"Hull will want a reaction after Bournemouth. Supporters will demand one. It's down to how well they're able to bounce back.

"It is an opportunity for us, for sure. We want to ask questions of them and see if they are fragile.

"We are ready and we are confident."

Hughes confirmed England goalkeeper Jack Butland was "back on the pitch for the first time" on Thursday after being out since March following ankle surgery and also highlighted the growing influence of close-season signing Joe Allen.

Wales international Allen has scored five goals in his last four appearances for club and country, including both in the 2-0 defeat of Sunderland.

Hughes added: "When Joe gets in good positions he is able to take them. He's getting into positions that a striker does and finishing like one too.

"Listening to Joe, I think he has actually surprised himself."


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