Mark Hughes has confirmed that Jonathan Walters will feature for Stoke during their upcoming Premier League clash with Arsenal. The Republic of Ireland international looked set to join newly promoted Norwich after handing in a transfer request before the close of the recent transfer window, but such a move never transpired as Canaries boss Alex Neill eventually completed the loan signing of Dynamo Kiev striker Dieumerci Mbokani.
Walters, who moved to the Potteries from Ipswich in August 2010, has made three appearances in all competitions this season, but that failed exit – coupled with the fact that he is yet to agree a deal to extend his current contract beyond next June – has inevitably led to concerns over his future. Hughes, however, insists the 31 year old's attitude has not been affected by the events of the summer and has no doubts regarding his return to first-team action.
"Jon Walters will be involved in the game on Saturday [12 September]," Hughes confirmed during a press conference held prior to Stoke's visit to the Emirates Stadium. "He is a good pro and he has gotten his head down and done well for Ireland. We want Jon to stay. There is a club view in terms of the length of the contract but from a football perspective I want him here. There was no change in his attitude today, as I expected there wouldn't be. He is certainly in my thoughts for Saturday."
Along with Walters, another Stoke player who could return to contention for the trip to north London is Bojan. The former Barcelona forward has not featured in a top-flight fixture since suffering a cruciate ligament injury during an FA Cup tie at Rochdale in January, but he did play during pre-season and was also given 87 minutes in the Capital One Cup second round tie against Luton last month.
Hughes was coy as to whether or not Bojan will be fit to start against Arsenal but did confirm his side could be without the trio of Mame Biram Diouf, Marko Arnautovic and Glen Johnson. Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Afellay are suspended after they were both sent off during the 1-0 defeat to West Brom before the international break, although the latter has had his ban reduced to two games following an appeal.
"Mame didn't train today – he is a doubt, as is Marko Arnautovic, who had a real bang on his ankle. We are hopeful that Marko will be ok. Glen Johnson has a little bit of an issue too, which we hope settles down in the next day. Bojan is very much in contention too. He is progressing well but I'm not going to show my hand, in terms of plans for the game."