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Reports had claimed that Sam Allardyce's men were keen on signing the towering striker but the Stoke City manager is adamant that he "won't encourage" any talk of an exit

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has denied reports that striker Peter Crouch has been the subject of an approach from West Ham.

Sam Allardyce has confirmed that he is in the market for a striker following another injury setback for Andy Carroll and the Hammers boss has been linked with a move for the 33-year-old.

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But Hughes dismissed speculation linking the former England international with Upton Park after Sunday's 1-1 friendly draw at Blackburn Rovers and insisted that Crouch is very much part of his plans.

When asked if West Ham had made an approach for the much-travelled frontman, the Stoke boss told Sky Sports News: "No, absolutely not.

"It's just speculation - we understand that at this time of year - but we won't encourage anything."

"Peter was great for me last year - he's a key part of what we're trying to do this year.

"People assume that, if you bring quality in, quality people have to go out but that's not the case. We're looking to build a strong squad and add to the quality we already have.

"Peter was very much part of that quality last year and we expect him to stay."

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