Predicted Stoke XI to face Southampton – Assaidi pushing for start

Mark Hughes has a number of selection decisions to make this weekend, with injuries and form at the forefront of his mind

Stoke City entertain Southampton this weekend, and manager Mark Hughes will be looking for his side to bounce back after a week of throwing away leads. From losing 3-2 against Manchester United having been 2-1 up, to needing penalties to see off ten-man Birmingham after establishing a 3-1 lead, Hughes will be hoping for better against the Saints.

Hughes will have been delighted to see defender Robert Huth and forward Marko Arnautovic recover from an ankle injury and illness respectively to take their places in the team against Birmingham in midweek, and they are expected to stay in the line-up to face Southampton.

Arnautovic scored an outstanding free kick against United, but was withdrawn early in the second half having suffered an illness, and Hughes watched on as the Austrian showed no side effects with the third goal against Birmingham.

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However, defender Andy Wilkinson (knee) and midfielder Glenn Whelan (hamstring) weren't risked in the Capital One Cup tie, and are in a race against time to be fit for the weekend.

After scoring a stunning 25-yard screamer, winger Oussama Assaidi is pushing for a starting berth, and his display in midweek will be fresh in Hughes' mind as he picks his team.

Predicted Stoke City line-up to face Southampton: Begovic; Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Pieters; Assaidi, Ireland, N'Zonzi, Palacios, Arnautovic; Crouch

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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