Hughes hopeful of entering contract talks

Mark Hughes is optimistic of entering into talks to extend his contract as Stoke City manager in the near future.

The Welshman arrived at the Britannia Stadium at the beginning of last season as he took over from compatriot Tony Pulis and guided the club to ninth, their best Premier League finish.

Hughes, who initially signed a three-year deal, has attempted to introduce a new style of football to the club, with the focus more on an attractive, expansive brand rather than the direct approach favoured by his predecessor.

Amid speculation that he is set to discuss a new deal with Stoke's board, Hughes stated his desire to carry on the job he started in the previous campaign.

"I've had no conversations to that end," he said. 

"It was reported last week that there may be talks in the future. I hope so.

"It's a great club. My star had faded somewhat when I arrived. The Coates family [the club's owners] showed faith in my ability and I'm very grateful. 

"I would like to think that I repaid them a little bit last season with what we achieved together and we would love to build upon that. This is a place I enjoy being at."

Stoke visit Hughes' former employers QPR in the Premier League on Saturday and one of his players in particular may attract the interest of the man in the home dugout.

QPR boss Harry Redknapp has alluded to his desire to work with Peter Crouch again, having managed the striker at Tottenham and Portsmouth, but Hughes is keen to retain the former England man.

"Harry gets asked about a lot of players and is very honest in his assessment of them," said Hughes.

"Peter is doing very well for ourselves and we're very happy he's here. We didn't encourage any bids for our players. 

"He [Redknapp] didn't make a call but even if he did he wouldn't have got very far. Harry has worked with Peter before so he will know about him better than most."