Mark Hughes insists Peter Crouch is still an integral part of his Stoke squad despite hardly playing for the Potters this season.
Crouch has been pushed down the pecking order at the Britannia Stadium this season, but impressed when returning to the side in the 1-1 draw with Sunderland at the weekend.
The striker looks sure to push for a move away in the summer as he wants regular first-team football, but Hughes would like him to stay and fight for his place.
“I’ve disappointed him this season because we’ve brought players in and I’ve given players game time ahead of him just because they needed integrating into the Premier League,” Hughes said.
“Peter has probably missed out on a number of occasions as a consequence of that, but whenever you call upon him he still gives everything he’s got.
“He’s always played the same way – he’s not lacking pace because he’s never had it. I was really pleased with him against Sunderland but I wasn’t surprised.”