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Hughes: Crouch going nowhere

Stoke manager Mark Hughes insists Peter Crouch will not be leaving the club in January after he propelled the Potters into the top half of the Premier League table.

Last Updated: 22/12/13 at 08:55 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Premier League Without Top 6 13/14 Without Top 6: Stoke 0/0

Mark Hughes: Says Peter Crouch is staying at the Britannia in January

Mark Hughes: Says Peter Crouch is staying at the Britannia in January

The England striker scored the winning goal in the 70th minute at the Britannia Stadium as Stoke made it back-to-back home wins in the league with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

Half-time substitute Charlie Adam had given the hosts the lead in the 50th minute from a Crouch assist before a poor header from Erik Pieters allowed Libor Kozak to level.

But Crouch scored the winner and then hit the post as the Potters won to climb up to tenth in the table.

Crouch has been linked with a move to join up with either of two former managers - Harry Redknapp at QPR or Tony Pulis at Crystal Palace - with Stoke reportedly chasing Hannover striker Mame Biram Diouf, but Hughes insists he is staying put.

The Stoke boss said: "He's not going anywhere in January."

Gives focus

Crouch was named man of the match, with Hughes, a former striker himself, adding: "He obviously gives us a focus to our attacking play.

"I played that role for many years with my back to the goal, and it's a thankless task on occasions. Sometimes you have to take hits for the team. That's what Peter did today and has done for a long time.

"He's an accomplished football player. He's been playing at this level for a long time and you don't do that unless you're a very good player."

Stoke have now lost only one of their last eight Premier League games and Hughes was delighted with the second-half performance as well as the spirit in the side.

He added: "It was a little bit difficult for us to get a foothold in the game in the first half. The wind was in our face and we didn't really get on the front foot and have that platform to build the performance.

"But I made a change at half-time and I think that probably helped us, and we were much better. We had the benefit of the wind at our back, which made an immediate impact.

"Obviously Charlie came on and scored, which settled the half very nicely for us, and we were very much on the front foot then.

"We had to pick ourselves up with the disappointment of the equaliser but I was really pleased with the reaction of Erik and his team-mates. They got round him, picked him up very quickly and that was important for us.

"And then we were able to go on and score a great goal at the other end. The second-half performance was very good."

Bet with SkyBet  Premier League Without Top 6 13/14 Without Top 6: Stoke 0/0

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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