Stoke release seven players as Hughes marks stamp on squad

The 49-year-old manager has enacted a clearout at the Britannia Stadium, releasing 13 playing and coaching staff as he looks to mould his own team after taking over from Tony Pulis
Mark Hughes has started his reign as Stoke manager by releasing seven players from the Potters' squad.

Jermaine Pennant, Dean Whitehead, Rory Delap, Mamady Sidibe, Carlo Nash, Matthew Upson and Matthew Lund have all left the club.

A statement on the club's official website read: "The club would like to thank all the players for their contribution during their time with us and wish them all the very best for the future."

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Former Sunderland midfielder Whitehead has been released despite making 30 appearances for the club last season, as Hughes begins overhauling the squad he has inherited from former boss Tony Pulis.

The rest of the players who have been released, however, only played a bit-part role last season and spent much of the campaign on loan with lower league sides.

Delap, once a first-team regular, finished the season on loan with Championship side Barnsley, while striker Sidibe plied his trade for Tranmere.

Pennant made just two appearances for Stoke in August last year, before spending a three-month loan spell at Wolves towards the end of the season.

Upson was on loan at Brighton from January, suffering defeat in the play-offs with the Seagulls, while Lund moved to Southend and Nash was Asmir Begovic and Thomas Sorenson's unused understudy.

Hughes has also started an overhaul of his backroom staff, with Dave Kemp, Mark O'Connor, Adrian Pennock, Paul Maxwell, Dave Kevan and Gerry Francis vacating their roles at the Britannia Stadium.