Stoke boss Mark Hughes believes Peter Crouch can get his Premier League season going after the striker’s goal steered the Potters into the Capital One Cup fourth round.
The Ealing-raised former QPR star’s inclusion was one of eight changes ex-Fulham boss Hughes made for the game at Craven Cottage, where the visitors won 1-0.
Stoke are yet to win in the league this season and Hughes said: “It was an opportunity for some of the players who haven’t played yet, and some of them certainly did their cause no harm whatsoever.
“Pete needed that game. He’s struggled in pre-season because he had an operation that didn’t go quite as planned, and it set him back somewhat.
“He’s been behind where he needed to be for quite some time, probably all of pre-season, so it’s only now that he is getting up to speed. It was important he got game time tonight and I thought he did really well.
“He scored a goal which, of course, as a striker you want the benefit to scoring goals. It was a good finish and he’ll start to progress this season I’m sure.”