Hughes not taking any risks with Bojan

Bojan Krkic will be managed carefully by Stoke City as he continues to regain fitness following a lengthy lay-off.

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes will be patient with Bojan Krkic after the player continued his comeback from a cruciate knee ligament injury against Porto.

The former Barcelona forward started his first game since January on Sunday, playing just over an hour of Stoke's 3-0 Colonia Cup loss at the RheinEnergieStadion.

However, Hughes - who is now preparing his players for a Premier League opener against Liverpool this weekend - has suggested the Spaniard will only gradually be reintroduced to competitive first-team action.

"It was good to give him a decent run-out because that's what he now needs," Stoke's manager told the club's official website.

"It's important that he gets game time, not just to boost his fitness levels but for his confidence as well.

"It's obvious at the moment that he is not quite there yet and he understands that but with the progress he is making then he will get there very soon, but it's one of those things that will certainly take a bit of time. 

"We're very confident of that, he is training every day with the rest of the group now so we will continue to be patient with him and hopefully get him back sooner rather than later."

Bojan made a significant impression for Stoke in his debut season at the Britannia Stadium, before suffering a season-ending injury to his left knee in an FA Cup tie at Rochdale.