Look Hughes here: Stoke boss scouts Burnley striker Danny Ings
Stoke City’s interest in Burnley forward Danny Ings was confirmed by Mark Hughes’ presence in the Ewood Park crowd as the Clarets finally beat bitter rivals Blackburn Rovers.
One way or another, former England Under-21 international Ings looks set to play Premier League football next term as Sean Dyche’s side are odds-on at 1/4 to earn promotion from the Championship.
Ings took his seasonal tally to 20 in all competitions by netting the winner in the East Lancashire derby. Potters manager Hughes, according to tabloids reports, was running the rule over Bournemouth’s former frontman from the stands.
With only one year left on his contract at Turf Moor, Burnley could be tempted to cash in on Ings, but it would break up his prolific partnership with Sam Vokes – which has fired them to the cusp of promotion.
Hughes’ Stoke are now 20/1 outsiders with Coral to be relegated after holding Norwich City to a draw at Carrow Road, despite scorer Jon Walters being subsequently sent off.
The Potters attack is in need of younger legs as several of their current attacking options are aged 30 and over. Forwards Peter Crouch, Peter Odemwingie and Walters are all under contract at the Britannia until 2015. Winger Matthew Etherington could leave this summer, however, as his deal is running out.
Stoke have also been linked with veteran Croatia striker Ivica Olic. Coral recently reported rumours that Hughes and club chairman Peter Coates had sounded the Wolfsburg player out about a move to the Potters after the World Cup in Brazil.
In other Stoke news, Coates has revealed to the local press that defender Robert Huth looks set to spend the rest of this campaign sidelined by the knee injury he sustained in November.
Once a regular member of the Germany national squad, Huth needed surgery to repair the damage. “It is my understanding that it is very unlikely he will feature again this season,” Coates said.
Up next for Hughes and the Potters is a home Premier League game with West Ham, who they are level on points with. Stoke are 6/5 to beat the Hammers, but face the joint-best defence in the top-flight. A goalless draw is an attractive 7/1.