Stoke City's Mark Hughes targeting best ever Premier League finish

Stoke City Manager Mark Hughes walks to the dugout prior to the Barclays Pemier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014
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Stoke City manager Mark Hughes wants his side to finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time now that they have all but secured their top-flight status.

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has set his team the target of achieving their highest-ever Premier League finish this season.

The Potters have all but secured top-flight safety, having picked up two wins and a draw from their last three games to move nine points clear of the relegation zone

However, Hughes has dismissed suggestions that they now have nothing to play for the remainder of the campaign, stressing that he wants Stoke to better their 11th-place finish and 47-point total from 2009-2010.

"There are a number of things we can achieve if we have a good finish to the season," Hughes told reporters. "There is the highest position Stoke have ever finished in the Premier League, and that is still within our grasp.

"So there are a number of things we can look ahead to and think 'yes, that is attainable and realistic' - so why not have a real push between now and the end of the season and see how many things we can achieve in this campaign?

"I think it is there for us if we recognise that and push on now. I sense the players themselves recognise where we are in our season and it is up to us now to kick on and finish strongly, because if we do then we will achieve a lot. There are a lot of things we can hit for the first time as Stoke City in the Premier League, and we will use that to motivate us."

Stoke travel to Aston Villa in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon.

Aston Villa's Fabian Delph is congratulated by teammates after scoring his team's third goal against West Brom during their Premier League match on January 29, 2014
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