Hughes sets Stoke seventh place target in league

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes wants his side to target seventh-spot in the Premier League after their 2-0 FA Cup third-round defeat to Championship side Wolves.

With the top six clubs nine points clear from the rest of the division, Hughes believes 11th placed Stoke can only set a realistic target to catch up with seventh-placed Everton, who are six points ahead in the standings.

"We're looking to get as high as we can. I think this year the top six will be way ahead of everybody else, so by virtue of that seventh is doable," Hughes told reporters.

"In points terms we are a couple of wins away from seventh so we've just got to keep in touch and make sure we’re able to do that."

Stoke, who finished ninth in the league under Hughes last season, had a below-par start to the campaign having picked up three points from their first seven games.

"It's a tall order based on what we saw on Saturday and people would suggest we wouldn't be able to do that but that's the challenge and why not take it up," Hughes added.

The Potters visit relegation-threatened Sunderland on Jan. 14 before hosting Manchester United on Jan. 21.