Preview: Stoke City v West Ham

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is hoping his team can take a massive step in achieving their aim of a top-half Premier League finish with a win against West Ham United.

The Potters welcome the Hammers to the Bet365 Stadium at 4pm on Saturday afternoon.

Both teams are in with a realistic chance of finishing in the top half of the table.

Despite seeing his side win just once in their last five games, Hughes feels his charges are in a good space.

"The mood in the dressing room is good and the guys are all looking forward to the game, just as I am," Hughes was quoted by his club's website.

"It is an important one for us, clearly,  especially after the setback at the Liberty Stadium last week," he said. 

Stoke were beaten 2-0 by Swansea in a game they were expected to win, last time out.

"I have said all season that when we have a disappointment, we more often than not bounce back, and I fully expect the guys to do that again tomorrow," said the manager.

While not technically involved in the relegation scrap, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic is not taking his eye off the bottom.

"I don't feel safe from relegation," he said.

"Only when you are mathematically safe, you are safe. That's the only truth. Maybe 38 points will be enough and people will say 'what did I tell you?' 

"But the only proper way to think about it is mathematically," he added.

They can, however, see their place in next season's campaign secured should they beat the Potters, and 18th placed Swansea fail to win at Old Trafford, where they will be playing against Manchester United.

"We are in that situation where we have to do both; look over our shoulder but look up ahead too," said Bilic.

"There's a small gap between us and mid-table,  it's a one game gap."

Ibrahim Afellay is the only player unavailable for the Potters. The Dutch winger is out for the rest of the season following knee surgery.

West Ham will continue to be without striker Andy Carroll, with winger Michail Antonio expected to be out until June as well.

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