Hughes' charges are only out of the Premier League's bottom three on goal difference following a dismal run of eight games without a win.
Stoke's last victory in the top flight came in August against West Ham and the visit of Gus Poyet's Sunderland will be seen as a great opportunity to get back on track.
Hughes has played down the importance of the game against the Wearsiders, although the former Manchester City manager expects his side to have their work cut out under against Poyet's charges.
He said: "I wouldn't describe Saturday's game as a must win, because we are still early in the season.
"But there is no doubt about it we could do with winning the game. We haven't taken the points that we would have liked up until now, but hopefully we can address that, starting on Saturday.
"Sunderland will be a different proposition than they were say three weeks ago. They will be buoyed by their recent results, and they will come here in confident mood.
"But we aren't in too bad shape ourselves, and we will be going out there on our front foot looking to get the three points that we are desperate for."
Despite Stoke's perilous position, Hughes has been encouraged by their performances so far this season.
He added: "We all have a lot of belief here. We have come up against some very good sides so far and acquitted ourselves really well.
"Obviously we would have liked to have taken a greater amount of points from those games, but there are positives which we have taken out of the performances."
The Stoke boss revealed that striker Kenwyne Jones is a doubt for the game against his former club after picking up a slight back problem on international duty with Trinidad and Tobago.
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