Mark Hughes finds losses of Club due to Bad Luck

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says that a tough run of matches during Christmas is partly to blame for the bad luck that the club has had with injuries the last few weeks.

Hughes has had to contend with a number of key players being unavailable during this period. He says that Stoke were involved in a number of tough matches against tough opposition during Christmas.

The level of intensity needed to get results against teams like Chelsea has taken a lot out of the club according to the former Blackburn Rovers manager. Despite this, results have been good enough to see Stoke climb into the top 10 of the table.

They have managed to do so despite suffering a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in the last league match. Hughes was speaking to the press ahead of the FA Cup match against Blackburn Rovers. Given that the club appear to be safe from any threat of relegation, Hughes is likely to concentrate on doing well in the FA Cup. A victory against the championship outfit will put Stoke in the quarter-finals of the competition. Hughes will also have extra motivation for a victory given that it is his former club.

“We’ve just come through a really tough period for games in terms of the Christmas period and the quality of the opposition we’ve been up against.That extra demand on you as a player in terms of the amount of games and the opposition means we’ve had a little bit of reaction.We’re hoping we’re going to get it back but they all seem to have coincided at the same time of the season. We’ve had a really difficult period but the number of points we’re delighted with, but we have lost a few,” said Hughes.

Phil Bardsley return for match against United

Stoke City have had a real shortage of victories this season.

The club has managed only five wins throughout this campaign and most of their points have come from the draws against the likes of West Ham United. The potters will be taking on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday. This match comes just days after the club suffered its second consecutive defeat at the hands of Liverpool. A Glen Johnson goal was enough to earn Liverpool a 1-0 victory, but it was more bad news for Stoke City who had been beaten 2-1 by Burnley only a few days ago.

United are on a resurgent run of form and Mark Hughes will need a full complement of players in order to rotate them and keep them fresh for the trip to Old Trafford. He does not have a great record against United, but the presence of experienced players like Phil Bardsley can help him get a result. The former Sunderland defender remains a doubt for the match, but Hughes confirmed that he expects the 29-year-old to be available. The Scottish defender has been an ever present for Stoke this campaign and his has been featured in 15 matches of all competitions.

“Phil Bardsley trained today and we feel he should be ok for the Manchester United game tomorrow,” said Hughes during the pre-match press conference. Bardsley was unavailable for the defeat against Liverpool in which Stoke played really well but did not get any reward. Their performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford has not been great in recent history. This makes the trip especially more difficult considering that United are on a good run of form. They have been undefeated at Old Trafford since the opening day of the season. This form has seen them move to third place in the table.

Hughes admits that standards at low at Stoke

Mark Hughes, the manager of Stoke City, has admitted that the standard of football played by his boys at the Stadium of Light last weekend was low.
According to Hughes, the opposition i.e. Sunderland played poorly as well, but, his team was even poorer and that’s why, ended up at the second position.
It’s the third loss for Stoke in the ongoing league. The last two losses that they had suffered, both of them had come on their home ground. They had been playing rather well in the away games. They had been undefeated on away venues for a while, but, that great run got over on Saturday eventually.
The Potters did not fell behind the Black Cats possession wise in the previous game. They had actually more of the possession, but, they were just not able to create the opportunities.
Hughes also had the same thoughts. While speaking in his interview later, the 50-year old said, “When you play away, you need to ensure that in the starting period, you just stay in the game. You have to make things difficult for the home side and you can do that only by having a good start. A good start is essential, but, unfortunately, that did not happen to us today. We fell back pretty early, conceding the first goal and then, another one in the first half, it was damaging.”
“I would say this wasn’t the greatest of the matches. Both the sides faltered, but, we faltered more than them and that’s the reason we were on the losing side at the end of it. However, they deserve a bit of credit for taking their opportunities.”
The next game for Stoke is a home game against Swansea City on 19th of October.

Stoke Aiming Higher

Mark Hughes signed Phil Bardsley for Stoke City earlier in July as the 29 year old Scottish defender was a free agent after having reached the end of his contract with his former club Sunderland.

Along with Bardsley, the manager of Stoke City Mark Hughes has fortified his squad by adding into the team Mame Biram Diouf, Steve Sidwell and Bojan Krkic. 1 player for every spot of the team will be arriving to the Britannia Stadium with expectations of not only continuing to compete against the best teams in England in the Premier League but also claim a higher spot.

Mark Hughes finished the previous season in a positive fashion as he guided Stoke City to important triumphs against Newcastle United, Fulham and a narrow victory against West Bromwich Albion on the very last match of the campaign as Stoke City went on securing the 9th spot which was their best finish ever in over 35 years.

With the arrivals of these new players into the team they can aim for even higher spots. Mark Hughes spoke about Phil Bardsley and what it means for the club having him joining the team.
"Phil has been a solid right-back at Premier League level for a long time. He's a player I've been aware of for a while and there's going to be good competition for places. He will work hard and try to put pressure on people I'm sure. I know he's very motivated to come to the club and get into the team. That's good from our point of view and good competition for everyone in the group."

Stoke City is currently going through a pre-season schedule with matches against German clubs such as: Borussia Mönchengladbach and Schalke 04. These friendly games are the ideal scenario for the new arrivals of Stoke City to get accustomed to their new club.

Bardsley Set On leave

Sunderland is the last club in the Premier League standings and the threat of being relegated to the Championship League is becoming more realistic as each match-day passes on.

Despite what the final outcome of Sunderland might be as to whether or not they get relegated there are some players that will be leaving the club including Jack Colback and Phil Bardsley.
Both of them have rejected new deals and when their current contracts expire in June they will become free agents. The head coach of club, Gus Poyet knows very well about the situation of some player as he revealed a few details surrounding the club and their current condition.

"Everybody knows we have been in contract talks with a couple of players, but at the moment everything is on standby. Everyone is responsible for their own decisions and I don't think we are in a position to push people to do things they do not want to do. I'm not stupid; I understand it brings uncertainty to the club for the future. To be honest, it doesn't matter where we finish. I cannot see them staying at the club." Poyet said.

West Ham’s Sam Allardyce is aware of Phil Bardsley’s situation and they are interested in signing him once he becomes a free agent in a few months. The English tactician of West Ham, Allardyce is hoping he can secure the services of Bardsley by launching a lucrative contract with signing on fee.
A few weeks ago on April 12, Sunderland faced off against Everton and lost 1-0 but it still was a significant day for Phil Bardsley as he broke the record of most Premier League appearances which was held by Michael Gray who had made 170 appearances for Sunderland at the top tier league in England.

FULHAM CHASE BARDSLEY

It looks like Fulham is eager to secure the services of the full back Phil Bardsley. They have been reported to have placed another bid for the player who belongs to Sunderland at the moment.

Gus Poyet, who is in charge at Sunderland, had rejected the first offer made by Fulham a few days back. According to the reports, the Uruguayan boss doesn’t want to let the Scottish player go and he has already promised him of a contract extension in summer.

This is Bardsley’s 6th year at Sunderland. He had signed for the club at the start of 2008.
He had fallen out of favour in the first half of the ongoing season and that had led to the rumours that he would be on his way in January, but, the sacking of Paolo Di Canio changed the scenario. Gus Poyet came in and he gave regular playing chances to the defender.
As a result, Bardsley started enjoying himself again at the club and he is in no mood to leave now.

Bardsley was the hero for Sunderland in their most recent outing against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup. He struck in that match and helped his team seal a final berth.
Talking to the reporters about Bardsley yesterday, Poyet said, “I arrived and had a look at Bardsley. I thought he was a guy with a lot of potential. So, I gave him opportunities, but, I told him that the mistakes would not be tolerated. I am happy that he has delivered the goods.”

Meanwhile, Poyet is all set to land Ignacio Scocco at the Stadium of Light after paying a transfer fee of 2.5 million Pounds to Internacional. Scocco is an Argentinean international who plays as a forward.

MORE GOALS NEEDED

Sunderland has struggled big time in the ongoing Premier League and the main reason behind that is their lack of goals. They haven’t been able to find the back of the net as many times as they would have liked to.

Phil Bardsley is aware of this problem of his team. The other day, while answering the questions of the reporters, the 28 years old defender admitted that his side will have to make big improvements up front to avoid the relegation.

The Black cats have so far played 20 matches in the Premier League and they have managed to secure three points in only 3 of those matches. In 11 matches, they have suffered defeats, while, on 6 occasions, they have shared points with their opposition. Their points’ tally reads just 14 at the moment and they are right at the bottom of the league table at this point of time.
In 9 of their league matches this season, Sunderland hasn’t scored a goal and that itself tells the story of their impotency up front.

In their most recent outing against Aston Villa on the 1st of January, Sunderland had played with as many as 3 forwards, despite that, they failed to score. Villa won the game easily by 1-0.

Talking to the reporters about Sunderland’s performance in the ongoing season, Bardsley said, “It’s not that we haven’t created opportunities. We have done that, but, most of those opportunities have gone begging. We have not been able to convert them into goals.”

The Sunderland boss, Gus Poyet, is believed to be interested in signing a quality forward during the mid season transfer window, but, he doesn’t have a big budget to do that. It would be interesting to see what he does in January.

Di Canio denies bust up got him the sack at Sunderland

Former Sunderland manager Paolo di Canio has denied that he was sacked by the club after losing a power struggle against his players.

According to reports emerging from the Black Cats camp, the fiery Italian manager was sacked immediately after the club hierarchy got wind of a training ground bust between the former West Ham United player and some of his stars. The former Lazio and AC Milan player was handed the pink slip last month and was replaced by former Chelsea player Gus Poyet as the manager earlier in October.

But according to di Canio, who left the club when it was rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, there was absolutely no training ground bust up with his players or anything else as is being reported in the English media. He went on to state that many of his former players have since sent him text messages, thanking him for his time as the Sunderland manager and helping them to become better footballers.

Di Canio was brought in to replace Martin O’Neill as the manager of the club and guided them to safety in the league, winning two of his seven matches in charge last season, including a 3-0 hammering of fierce local rivals Newcastle United. He mentioned that when he was given the chance of managing the club and the aim of keeping them in the league, he was happy and thankful because the club gave him a chance to manage in the Premier League.

He stated that he walked into a challenging situation and walked out unscathed but he also stated that he doesn’t hold any grudges against Sunderland and its board members. He also admitted that he is still confident in his abilities and is looking to manage another club in England soon.

BARDSLEY SUFERS INJURY

Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley has suffered a major injury, which will rule him out for at least 10 weeks of the new Premier league campaign. Even more than the injury, manager Paolo Di Canio will be worried about the player being sold. Bardsley has been linked with a move away from Sunderland in the last few weeks.

The likes of Fulham, Blackburn, and Newcastle United have been showing interest in the player. The transfer window is set to end in the next couple of weeks, and it looks like the player will stay at the Stadium of Light until January.

The defender certainly does not figure in the plans of the manager, but the club needed to sell him in order to raise money for new players. The defender has been training with the reserves in the last few weeks. He was also left out of the pre-season tour of the first team.

Instead, he was involved in the pre-season developed for the reserve team. The player has suffered a broken foot in the match against Bolton under 21s. He was forced to leave the field at half-time. This injury news, though, will come as good news for Newcastle United fans, who have not been happy with their club being linked with a Sunderland player.

Meanwhile, defender John O'Shea has hailed the presence of manager Di Canio, who has been unwilling to rest his players in the pre-season.

"We’ve put in a lot of graft and some of the pre-season performances have been really positive. The acid test comes when the ­Premier League starts, but hopefully this squad is better balanced than last year with better options. There is so much more competition for places,” said the former United defender. Sunderland's first match of the season will be against Fulham at home.

Bruce wants Darren Bent and Phil Bardsley

Steve Bruce and Hull City are reportedly targeting two of Bruce’s former protégés in the form of Darren Bent and Phil Bardsley. The newly promoted Premier League club has already splashed the cash on several new signings ahead of the new season and has reportedly two more targets in their transfer shortlist that they are going for.

Bent is available for a measly fee after falling out of favor with Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert and the presence of several strikers ahead of him in the pecking order and although Fulham and Newcastle United are also in the running for his signature, Bruce wants to use the trump card of his relationship with the player to bring him to the KC Stadium.

Bruce is ready to meet Villa’s £ 6 million valuation of the player who he sold to Villa for a whopping £ 24 million fee when he was the manager at Sunderland. His move will scupper any move that Newcastle United have made for the former England international and the only deterrent in the deal going through is the high wage demands of the player.

Meanwhile, Phil Bardsley is another player that is reportedly on the shopping list of the former Manchester United defender following the right back’s very public fall out with Sunderland manager Paolo di Canio. Bruce was the man who brought Bardsley to the Stadium of Light after he failed to make the grade at Manchester United and nurtured him before he was sacked.

And with Phil Bardsley himself announcing that there is very little chance of him staying on at the club, Bruce and Hull City find themselves in pole position to land the 30 year old Scotsman who has a reputation of being a fiery character and can be wound up very easily.

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