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Hughes optimistic on Bardsley, Pieters fitness

Stoke take on their bottom-of-the-table opponents at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, aiming to improve on their current position of ninth.

Earlier this week, Hughes' assistant Mark Bowen revealed that just two defenders - Ryan Shawcross and Marc Muniesa - had been able to train properly, with doubts lingering over Bardsley, Pieters and Marc Wilson.

In a media conference on Friday, Hughes had positive news on Bardsley and Pieters, while midfielder Glenn Whelan also comes back into contention after recovering from a fractured leg.

"Wilson, Bardsley and Pieters... two out of three we hope will be OK," said the Welshman. "It looks like Marc will miss out.

"Glenn Whelan should be an option. He's trained all week.

"He's done remarkably well to recover so quickly from a broken leg. He's near to being back to where he was before the injury."

Hughes is wary that Saturday's visitors will be buoyed by picking up their maiden win before the international break - a 1-0 success over Hull City - but the manager believes his own players should come into the clash with spirits high following their 2-1 victory at Tottenham last time out.

"If you can get a win before the international break that's what you want," he said.

"A defeat is hard to take because you want the group straight back in to address what went wrong. They [Burnley] know coming to Stoke will be a difficult fixture but confidence is a huge thing. 

"Mind, we're confident ourselves and we're really looking forward to the fixture. 

"We've let ourselves down when we've had a great performance and great result before, like [beating] Man City then losing to Leicester. We don't want to do that again."

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