Hughes thinking ahead

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Mark Hughes has already started planning for next season.

The Manchester City chief completes his first year in charge of the Eastlands outfit against Bolton on Sunday and is already compiling a wish-list of new recruits he hopes to bring in during the summer.

"We are looking ahead now," he said. "At times it has been quite difficult and quite hard but we are really looking forward to the new season."

He added: "It has been a year of transition. We have all had to grow and learn from the experience. We will all feel the benefit of that experience next year.

"We fully anticipate, with more good players coming in, we will be a much stronger side than we were at the beginning of this year when we weren't strong enough to match the expectations that were placed upon us."

If Hughes could get the majority of his squad fit on a regular basis it would be a major advantage.

Shaun Wright-Phillips has been ruled out of Sunday's encounter after failing to recover from a knee injury sustained early last month, while Craig Bellamy also had his campaign ended by a similar problem.

And City are likely to be spending as much time trying to offload players from a squad that is already too big in certain areas without another influx of new faces.

Daniel Sturridge will be one of the players leaving, with Hughes admitting he is not surprised no agreement has been reached with the 19-year-old, who was demanding £60,000 a week to stay.

"We put in another offer and that was declined," said Hughes. "We have not gone back to Daniel's advisors. As we stand, there has been no progress. I don't think we have much room to negotiate now. I am disappointed, not surprised."

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Manchester City
Bolton Wanderers
Mark Hughes
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Daniel Sturridge
Mark Hughes
Shaun Wright-Phillips

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