Date: 12th June 2017 at 4:22pm
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Mark Hughes’ position at Stoke has come under fire, well, from some fans anyway. But Potters chairman Peter Coates has made it clear the boss isn’t going anywhere.

Coates doesn’t feel Hughes has taken Stoke as far as he can, a suggestion from some quarters. As such he’s backed the boss and offered his full support to the Welshman going forward.

He was quoted by Sky Sports: ‘We are confident in what he’s achieved so far, [it] gives us confidence he can continue to do well for us, otherwise we would have done something about it. A small number can make a lot of noise, and the media always pick up on it. That’s not a criticism, it’s a reality.’

Coates added: ‘I understand why, they like a bit of controversy and something to talk about. We felt he’s done well for us since he’s been here, and we don’t expect that to change. I’ve been around so long, I take it as part of the game and don’t get too worked up about it. It’s how supporters are – and not just Stoke supporters – if you’re not doing well, they will let you know.’

One win in the final 11 Premier League games saw Hughes come under pressure, Stoke’s 13th place finish was the first outside of the top half in four seasons, which came at the end of a campaign the boss had arguably been handed his biggest budget so far.

Hughes retains Coates’ support, who also feels Manchester United’s finishing 23 points clear of Southampton, eighth, who headed a closely packed bunch just above Stoke, proves how tough it’ll be to break into the top-six, let alone higher.

Coates said: ‘I think there is a danger [that the top 6 will pull further away]. The gap will be hard to bridge. They have hugely more money than the rest of the clubs, I have a theory that you play to your economic resource, give or take bad management.’

The boss will start the 2017-18 season at the Bet365 Stadium but long serving Glenn Whelan looks as though he could leave Stoke.

Aston Villa’s initial offer for the veteran Republic of Ireland international was turned down last week but Coates went on to say Whelan can leave if the right offer comes in for the midfielder.

Whelan looks like he’ll be joined by Gianni Imbula, Stoke are looking to find the club record signing a new club too. But Coates isn’t ruling out a future at the Potters for Bojan, who is set to return from his loan at Mainz in time for pre-season.

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