Mark Hughes admits Peter Crouch’s hat-trick in Stoke’s 4-0 victory over Stevenage has given him a selection headache.
Crouch, who made only four league starts last term and was making his first appearance of this season, rolled back the years as Stoke outclassed their League Two hosts.
After the 6ft 7in striker opened the scoring, Phil Bardsley doubled the advantage by half-time.
Crouch added two more after the break to score his first hat-trick since August 2010, when he netted three times for Tottenham in a Champions League qualifier against Swiss side Young Boys.
Hughes said: “He (Crouch) always gives me something to think about.
“I thought he was excellent, he led the line well and I knew he would try and make something of the quality into him.
“I thought he was excellent on the night along with many others. Our attitude towards what we had to do was spot on and that’s how it has to be.
“It’s difficult when you come away from home early in the competition and we haven’t had too many games under our belt, but it was important that we did it in the correct manner, which we did.
“We knew they would go quite direct and we had to be ready for that and I thought we were excellent.
“The back four were really in control of whatever they threw at us and in the end our extra quality really took the game away from them.”