Peter Crouch could soon be Stoke's Plan A says Mark Hughes after striker's equaliser against Leicester

Mark Hughes suggested that Peter Crouch could soon be a Stoke City starter after the striker came off the bench to earn a 2-2 draw for the Potters at home to Leicester City.

The 6ft 7in front-man took just four minutes after his introduction to power in a header from a Xherdan Shaqiri corner at the bet365 Stadium, his third goal of the season after coming on.

His goals have directly earned the Potters five of their 12 Premier League points this season but all seven of the 36-year-old's appearances so far have come as a substitute.

Hughes, speaking post-match, insists that should Crouch's goalscoring form continue, he could soon be in the frame for a first league start of the campaign.

Stoke boss hints at more starts for Crouch

"It's not a bad option is it?" the Welshman said when asked about Crouch. "Once again, Pete's come on to good effect.

"I think that illustrates what a great professional he is to be able to come on and have an impact because of the way he trains.

"He's always available, he never misses training if he can help it. That's why he's able to come on and have the impact and still score at this level.

"He's ready to go, physically in the right place and engaged in the game and understands what is required when he comes on.

"I thought he was excellent, his general play as well, never mind the great goal he scored. We're pleased for him.

"Everybody's saying he's Plan B but if it continues he might be Plan A. He's doing nothing wrong.

"The last couple of weeks he's had a little issue with his back. In fairness he played against Bournemouth when really he shouldn't. He said he could give me 20 minutes and that's what he gave me in that game and that set him back.

"But credit to him, he comes on and has an impact and he's done it again. We had to make a change, I felt we had to get two guys up top. That helped us.

"Once you bring Peter on, there's a completely different problem for the opposition.

"That's what an impact sub can do for you so he'll continue to be in my mind as an impact sub but he might be further in my thoughts in terms of starting games now."

Hughes pleased with Stoke's "character"

Stoke twice came from behind to earn a point against the Foxes, Shaqiri cancelling out Vicente Iborra's opener before Crouch levelled after Riyad Mahrez's solo goal.

They could even have won the game late on if not for Kasper Schmeichel's reactions, pushing Kurt Zouma's header in the dying stages just wide.

Though the draw keeps the Staffordshire outfit in 16th, Hughes felt that the performance of the home side warranted a positive result against a talented Leicester side.

He continued: "I think it was difficult for us against a very good Leicester side in terms of their threat on the break.

"The one thing you don't want to do is concede against a side like Leicester who are arguably, the way they play, one of the best counter-attacking sides in the Premier League in my view given the threat they've got and the personnel they've got.

"Conceding the first goal obviously will play into their hands and they're able to get people behind the ball, suck you in and look to exploit the space that you undoubtedly leave.

"We got caught out on the second goal as a consequence of that but showed great character again.

"It's not easy to come back twice in any game, we've been able to do that so that shows good determination and good character in the group that we've got that they were able to get something out of the game.

"We could've won it in the end but Kasper Schmeichel has made a couple of outstanding saves, not least the one right at the end when there were about five seconds left.

"It could've gone our way, we could've got maximum points, but we certainly deserved something out of it."