Hughes returns to his former club still looking for Stoke's first win of the new Premier League season after a surprise home defeat to Aston Villa was followed by a 1-1 stalemate at Hull City last week.
In stark contrast, defending champions City have won both of their fixtures and fired a warning shot to their title rivals with an excellent 3-1 triumph over Liverpool on Monday.
Hughes knows his side will be up against it at the Etihad Stadium, but feels all the pressure will be on City.
"They have a quite incredible squad of players, and to be honest, it is tough for us to analyse them and have a clear indication of what they may do on the day," Hughes said on Thursday.
"It's impossible to second guess what Mr Pellegrini [City manager Manuel Pellegrini] is going to do because of the options he has available to him.
"I watched them on Monday night, and for an hour they were absolutely fantastic.
"It will be a very difficult afternoon for us for sure. I am looking forward to going back there, though."
Hughes could give winger Victor Moses his Premier League debut for Stoke after he impressed in Wednesday's 3-0 League Cup win over Portsmouth.
Moses – who joined on a season-long loan from Chelsea – played 64 minutes and Hughes was pleased with his "excellent" performance.
"He has made a real claim to be involved," he said.
Hughes also warned Stoke fans not to expect much activity before Monday's transfer deadline day.
Stoke have already brought in Moses, Mame Biram Diouf, Bojan Krkic, Phil Bardsley and Steve Sidwell as they look to improve on last term's ninth-placed finish.
"I don't think there will be much happening here to be perfectly honest - in terms of incomings or outgoings," he continued.
"I would suggest that the camera crews stay at home, because we are anticipating it being a very quiet day here.
"You never know, things may change at the weekend, but I am very happy with the options I have available to me. Hopefully, I will be sitting at home watching the madness unfold on the television."
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