Mark Hughes is not ready to give up on his cautious approach

Even though the festive period of fixtures recently came to an end, Mark Hughes is not ready to give up on his cautious approach when it comes to getting players back from injury.

The Stoke City manager has a number of top players on the sidelines. The addition of Ryan Shawcross to the injury list only added to the pressure that Hughes is feeling. The FA Cup returns with fourth-round action, but reaching the semi-final of the League Cup has already put a lot of pressure on the squad. Stoke have been involved in midweek games consistently over the last few months.

They have been able to carry along without the presence of Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri. The former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan player did play against Leicester in the league match last weekend. A 3-0 defeat against the surprise team in the Premier League meant that the club have tasted success only once in the last five games. Incredibly, Stoke will be involved in four away matches in just 11 days. This hectic schedule calls for a large squad, but Hughes is determined not to bring back the 24-year-old sooner than expected.

Xherdan Shaqiri recently suffered a hamstring injury and a much more serious one would have kept him out for more than a month."We have a big period coming up. After the festive period there is usually a little bit of a lull, but it is still continuing for us and there are huge games to come. So we are going to need the squad. But you have to take each game as it comes.Shaqiri trained today, so we're hopeful he won't get a reaction and then I'll make a decision as to whether he's ready. Obviously he's anxious to get back in,” said Hughes.