Date: 23rd January 2017 at 1:26pm
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Mark Hughes has readily admitted new Stoke signing Saido Berahino isn’t going to be ready to start many games for the time being but adding him to the squad is an exciting prospect.

Berahino finally completed his transfer to Stoke from West Brom on Friday but wasn’t involved in the draw with Manchester United – even if he had been it wouldn’t have been as a starter.

£12m signing Berahino is backed to quickly get up to speed with him a different option to the strikers Hughes currently has at the bet365 Stadium.

The boss was quoted by Sky Sports as saying.

‘He is not where he needs to be at the moment in terms of his fitness, but we can change that around very quickly and he gives us something we have not really had for quite some time – someone who will play off the shoulder and, if he gets a chance, more often than not will take it.’

When Berahino does play his part – from the bench initially – Hughes has backed him to have an impact with his return to full fitness not expected to take long as he’ll be naturally fit anyway.

‘He is probably not going to be starting games any time soon but certainly he can have an impact. He has played games in the last month or so for the U23s – clearly that is not Premier League level, but he has had about four sets of 90 minutes in the last month, so he is not unfit.’

Once fully match fit and having built up an understanding with his new Stoke teammates Hughes finished by saying he’s expecting big things from the former England U21 international.

‘He’s not match fit, but I think once he gets back into a senior group and is integrated and has a little bit of understanding of what we’re about, then he’s going to progress very quickly on all levels.’

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