Robert Huth’s return to fitness could be the key for Stoke goals

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Two wins from seven and stuttering in 16th place, it’s been a distinctly average start to the season for Stoke City. But with Robert Huth expressing his eagerness to get back into the starting line up, things could be on the up for the Staffordshire club.

The defender has been out injured for 11 months, since damaging knee ligaments against Sunderland last season, but has been in full training since the start of this campaign to build up his fitness.

And now the tall centre half has expressed how he is ready to return on a regular basis:

“I don’t even consider myself to have had an injury, that’s how good it is. I just go to work and train, just like I did this time last year. Every player who’s not playing is keen to get back into the team, but I’m going to have to bide my time. I am back now though and looking forward.”

That news will be music to the ears of Stoke fans who have seen some toothless displays this season from Mark Hughes’ side.

Although a return to the squad for the German should be a bigger boost to their defensive options, it is in the goalscoring department that he could really make a difference.

In recent years the Potters have become a side renowned for their set-play nous, however of their equally paltry return of six Premier League goals this term, not one has come from a dead ball situation.

But in Huth they have a man who knows where the net is from those types of plays. He has bagged 20 goals in his five seasons at Stoke, and all but one of them has either come from a corner or a free-kick.

Marc Wilson may have taken advantage of his absence at the back, earning an opportunity to partner skipper Ryan Shawcross in defence, but doesn’t pose the same attacking threat that his elder squad member does, having scored just once in 141 appearances for the club.

Mark Hughes now has a decision as to whether to bring Huth back into the starting line up for their next match at the Britannia, a visit of Swansea, where the home side are priced up at 13/10 to record back-to-back home wins for the first time this season.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.