Date: 9th July 2013 at 11:06am
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Mark Hughes has confirmed Stoke City`s pre-season plans.

The Potters first team squad returned from their off season break to start pre-season training yesterday (8th July) at Clayton Wood complex.

It was the first opportunity for new gaffer Hughes to cast his eyes over the Stoke squad and also see his new signings Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa in action.

Stoke will now undergo routine fitness tests at St. George`s Park in Burton today before flying off to France tomorrow for a 5-day training camp in which Hughes believes is vital in his preparation for his first season in charge at the Britannia Stadium.

Hughes told the club`s official website: “We`re off to France for four or five days, which will help myself and the staff get to know the players and them to get to know us.

“We are a new management team and the players don’t know us personally and what I am about.

‘Had we just stayed around the training ground the players would be in for a couple of hours and then shooting off, so you don’t get the opportunity to sit down with them, talk closely and get an understanding of them as individuals.’

After Stoke return from France, they will have a week`s training at the state-of-the-art Clayton Wood Complex and then will jet off over the Atlantic for their tour of the US, where they will face Geoff Cameron`s former side Houston Dynamo, then Brek Shea`s former team FC Dallas and also play against Philadelphia.

The Potters will then return to Britain to face Mark Hughes` home town club Wrexham before playing their first home friendly match in years against Serie A outfit Genoa.

Stoke`s pre-season schedule:

Today (9th July)- St. George`s Park, Burton

Tomorrow (10-14th July)- Training Camp- South of France

15-21st July- Pre-season training- Clayton Wood training complex

22nd July- US Tour

24th July- Houston Dynamo

27th July- FC Dallas

30th July- Philadelphia Union

4th August- Wrexham- Racecourse Ground

10th August- Genoa- Britannia Stadium