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Stoke manager aiming to finish above Southampton

The Potters are on a roll. Credit: PA

Mark Hughes hopes Saturday's win at Southampton provides another step in Stoke's progression up the Barclays Premier League table.

Bojan Krkic's 10th-minute strike secured City's first win at St Mary's, and their first on the south coast in 35 years.

Southampton have led the charge of the teams chasing the traditional top-six clubs in recent seasons, but Hughes feels this could be the year Stoke overtake them.

"Southampton have done really well in recent years finishing top-10, top-eight, top-seven, and we haven't quite been able to catch them," said the City boss.

"But maybe this is the season we'll be able to do that."


Stoke steward's complaint about Chelsea striker Diego Costa is resolved

Diego Costa (left) squares up to Stoke players. Credit: PA

A Stoke City steward's claim that Diego Costa stamped on him was refuted as "utter nonsense" and then apparently resolved.

Moments after the Blues' 1-0 loss at the Britannia, a member of Stoke's security staff reported Costa to the referee after an incident on the touchline.

TV footage of the alleged incident showed Chelsea striker Costa going to retrieve the ball for a throw-in and then appearing to make contact with the steward with his foot.

A Chelsea spokesperson responded simply: "Utter nonsense". It is understood that the issue was then dealt with amicably and put to bed.

Referee Anthony Taylor will now include the incident in his match report, but further action would appear highly unlikely.

Walters signs new Stoke contract

Jonathan Walters. Credit: PA

Stoke forward Jonathan Walters has signed a new two-and-a-half year contract, the club have announced.

The 32-year-old Republic of Ireland international has made over 200 appearances in all competitions for Stoke since joining them in 2010, scoring 54 goals.


Hughes backs Butland to challenge Hart for England

Stoke boss Mark Hughes feels Jack Butland is growing in stature by the day and expects a major tussle ahead between the goalkeeper and Joe Hart for an England starting spot.

Butland has been in great form this season. Credit: PA

Butland on Tuesday capped his latest impressive performance of 2015-16 by winning a penalty shoot-out for the Potters in the Capital One Cup against Chelsea, making the decisive save from Eden Hazard's kick.

The 22-year-old, getting his first proper run as a Premier League number one this term, also made his second senior England appearance earlier this month.

Speaking at his press conference for Stoke's league trip to Newcastle on Saturday, Hughes said:

Jack is playing exceptionally well and is full of confidence, which is a big thing for goalkeepers.He is enjoying his work and being number one here - it is what he believes he should be. He is growing day on day in terms of his presence and influence on the team and that is credit to him. I think Jack will play many games at international level.

There is an exceptional goalkeeper in Joe Hart ahead of him at the moment, who is still a very young man himself. So there will be great competition for that position in the years to come and I think if Jack keeps fit and well and progressing at the rate he is at the moment, it will be a huge choice for whoever is the England manager - but a nice choice to have.

– Stoke manager Mark Hughes
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