Stoke City boss, Mark Hughes admits he jumped for joy when Nigeria failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The West African nation’s failure to reach the tournament, which started last Saturday, means Victor Moses is available for the Potters again having been out of action since late November with a thigh injury.
During his enforced lay-off Moses had gone back to parent club Chelsea for treatment.
The 24-year-old Nigerian returned to Stoke last week and was on the bench at Arsenal and played a part in the 1-0 defeat of Leicester City at the King Powr stadium on Saturday.
So while other Premier League teams are losing key players to the African tournament, Hughes said: “Before his injury he was arguably our best player so it is fair to say I did jump for joy it was a bonus for us.
“It is unfortunate for Nigeria but sometimes you have to be a bit single minded.
“We kept Victor back last week because he had only been with us for three or four days, and we didn’t want to put him at risk.
“He came here and tore the place up really, when he first came in before his injury. It is a difficult injury and you have to be mindful of them and it can come back.
“The key for Victor was to come to a club where he could get opportunities to show what he can do and we’ve given him that platform.
“He’s grasped it with both hands and played exceptionally well so there’s no reason to think he won’t do that quickly again.
“He didn’t get a pre-season but he hit the ground running so maybe that will be the case again.”
Ideye Needs Help.
Tony Pulis believes West Bromwich Albion must lift the goalscoring ‘cloud’ from record signing Brown Ideye before they see the best of the striker.
Pulis believes a goal would trigger an upturn in form for the £10m marksman, who has netted just one inadvertent effort in the Premier League so far and has struggled for form since his big-money summer switch.
Albion are understood to be ready to offload Ideye for the right offer this month but the Nigeria international currently appears likely to stay.
And Pulis believes a goal would change Ideye’s mindset after he missed a glorious chance in last weekend’s 1-0 win against Hull.
“He needs a goal more than anything,” said Pulis. “The boy can’t buy a goal so he needs that.
“He’s got a big cloud hanging over him at the moment and if we could lift that it would help. If you look at what he did against Hull, the effort and commitment he put in were great, especially in the first hour.
“In the last half an hour he tired a bit and we replaced him with Victor Anichebe but he worked very hard and linked play well at times.
“We’re just a little bit disappointed he didn’t take that chance and score the goal because if he’d done that you would have seen a different player.