Stoke City v QPR: Hughes hopeful of Diouf boost
With star striker Bojan Krkic injured, Mark Hughes hopes Mame Biram Diouf's potential return from Africa Cup of Nations duty can boost Stoke City going into Saturday's visit of QPR in the Premier League.
Hughes' side progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday with victory against Rochdale but it came at a cost, with Spaniard Bojan suffering cruciate ligament damage.
The former Barcelona man looks set to miss the remainder of the season, with Hughes now pinning his hopes on Diouf.
The forward was unable to save Senegal from an early AFCON elimination at the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Hughes is determined to ensure Diouf can return to action for Stoke this weekend.
"We are trying to get [Diouf] back here and we are hopeful but there is a little bit of difficulty getting him here from where the competition is being staged," he told the club's official website.
"He has got to go back to Senegal first to sort a couple of things out but we are certainly trying to get him here in time for Saturday's fixture.
"A number of other clubs in the Premier League are having identical problems to us but we are working at it and hopefully we will get him back here."
For Harry Redknapp, the absence of Bojan will offer further hope of picking up their first point on the road since their top-flight return and potentially move them out of the bottom three.
Even with Hughes' men having lost to the likes of Burnley, Aston Villa and Leicester City at the Britannia Stadium this term, QPR defender Clint Hill expects a stern test against his former club.
"Stoke has always been a difficult place to go to, especially when their fans really get behind them," he told QPR's official website.
"We need to go away and start picking up points. It's as simple as that, there's nothing more to say.
"It's not even worth talking about. We can all say things, but we have to go out there and actually produce the goods. There's been enough talk about systems - is it this, is it that? We've just got to get on with it and start producing.
"Even if it's just a point, let's take that point to build the confidence up, that's what we want. And a point can make a big difference."
Erik Pieters (groin) and Peter Odemwingie (knee) are also absent for Stoke, while Redknapp could welcome back Sandro (knee) and Yun Suk-young (ankle).