Mark Hughes predicts Stoke City will score more goals this season

The former QPR boss replaced Tony Pulis over the summer

Mark Hughes expects Stoke to score more goals this season than last, whether or not he manages to sign more players.

The Potters struggled to find the net last term and consequently needed a late charge to pull away from relegation trouble.

Their final tally of 34 goals in the Barclays Premier League was bettered by every side with the exception of relegated QPR and was 52 fewer than champions Manchester United managed.

New manager Hughes wants to develop Stoke's style and creating more goalscoring opportunities is a priority.

Hughes said: "We will try to play in a different way.

"We have given hints of that in the pre-season games and I think people have been encouraged by that.

"A lack of goals was something that obviously hindered the team last year. It is fair to say we are trying to address that.

"It could be in the transfer market we address it, but we could address it by the manner of the work we have been doing on the training field in terms of allowing them more licence to get into good areas of the football field.

"That is what we are about, creating more chances in the final third."

Hughes has been linked with a move to sign QPR attacking midfielder Junior Hoilett on loan.

The 23-year-old Canada international was a youth-team player under Hughes at Blackburn before being taken to Loftus Road by the Welshman last year.

Hughes said: "Junior is a very good player and someone I have worked with before.

"We are not sure if he is available or not but obviously if we are able to bring players of that quality in we will try to do that."

Hughes' first test as Stoke boss comes as he takes his side to Liverpool on the opening day of the new season tomorrow.

The 49-year-old has work to do to win over sceptical fans and to ensure Stoke are not battling at the bottom end of the table but he is relishing the challenge.

He said: "I think everyone is ready for the kick-off now. The build-up has been gathering momentum.

"Liverpool away is not the easiest of starts but it is one we are looking forward to.

"We have done a lot of work leading into the game and now we are looking to execute what we have been trying to put into place.

"We are going to have a huge following - nearly 3,000 Stoke fans are going to be there - so it is going to be a great spectacle and hopefully a great game for us."

One player he will not have to contend with is Liverpool's controversial wantaway striker Luis Suarez, who is banned for the first six games of the season.

Suarez has been agitating for a move all summer but the Reds have refused to sell the Uruguayan.

Hughes was asked about that situation at his pre-match press conference and the presence of player-turned-pundit Robbie Savage in the room did not go unnoticed.

Savage controversially left Birmingham for Hughes' Blackburn in 2005.

"I might have had someone who has done it on my behalf," said Hughes with a smile, when asked if he had ever experienced such a situation in his career.

"You will always get players disenfranchised, they get their heads turned and you have to deal with that.

"It is not easy for managers. Sometimes you have to make a decision that is the best for the club and the group they are working with.

"I am sure Brendan (Rodgers) is managing it exceptionally well given the circumstances.

"We will have to see how that pans out but from my own selfish point of view I am pleased he (Suarez) is not involved."

Hughes has made two defensive signings this summer in Dutchman Erik Pieters and Spaniard Marc Muniesa.

Pieters, a 25-year-old left-back bought for £3million from PSV Eindhoven, said: "I spoke to the manager and he told me of his ambition to take this club to a higher level. That was really good for me.

"It was always been a dream for me as a young kid to play in the Premier League.

"I played for five years at PSV and I was looking for a new challenge.

"This opportunity came for me so it was not that hard."

PA

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