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Published: 14:15 | 12/1/16

Crouch eager for starting berth

Peter Crouch is hoping to fight his way back into the Stoke team after returning to the starting line-up for the Emirates FA Cup third round win over Doncaster Rovers.

Crouch had not started a game for the Potters since the Capital One Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday at start of December after being sidelined with a hamstring injury and he marked his return with the opening goal in the 2-1 win at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The 34-year-old was delighted to return to the starting team and he is hopeful his performance will convince manager Mark Hughes to include him in his Premier League plans.

"The most important factor was to make sure we got the win and into the next round. From a personal point of view it was also good to get a run-out and a goal," he told Stoke City Player.

"I’m 100% fit, I have been for a while now so it was good to get some minutes on the pitch again. "Hopefully I’ve done myself some justice and I can try and force myself into a Premier League team.

"It has been frustrating, of course, and there are times where you don’t feel part of the group but all I can do is keep working hard and getting myself back in the side."

Crouch has been linked with a move away from the Britannia Stadium during the January transfer window, but the former England striker has no desire to leave Stoke.

"Ideally I’d like to stay at Stoke. We’re a top 10 side and I’d like to very much be a part of that," he added.

"That said I have to remain realistic, I haven’t featured hardly at all in the Premier League and that’s what I want to be doing.

"If needs be I’ll have to move on, but in all honesty I’d rather not."

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