JON WALTERS believes that Stoke’s absence from this weekend’s FA Cup Fourth Round will prove a welcome break.

With The Potters knocked out by Crystal Palace in the previous round of the competition, Mark Hughes’ men have a rare weekend off from competitive football.

Hughes and co. have taken the opportunity to spend the week at a training camp in sun-soaked Dubai to ensure they are fully prepared for the visit of Aston Villa next weekend.

Stoke ended a miserable run of three consecutive 3-0 defeats in the Premier League with a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth last Saturday.

And Walters thinks that the break will prove very beneficial after such a significant success.

“It was important to get that win on the back of three heavy defeats. We had to get back to the realism of how you win games,” Walters commented.

“No matter what else you do you need to go out and win the game, it doesn’t matter if it’s 1-0 or 3-1, if it’s pretty or not, the three points are the most important thing.

“No matter how it comes, we will take a win all day.

“It’s a good time for a break. We had another couple of injuries at Bournemouth, but hopefully now we’ve got a chance to get people back ready for Villa.”

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Skipper Ryan Shawcross is nearly back to full fitness after missing a good month or so due to a back injury sustained in the 3-0 Leicester defeat in January.

And Walters admits that it will be a major boost when the former Manchester United defender returns to the line-up, with Stoke hoping to build upon their first win in five league fixtures.

“It’d obviously be good to get Ryan back fit and back in the team,” the 32-year-old asserted.

“We are still in a good position in the league, we can go on a good run and we’ve tended to over the past couple of seasons. If we do that again we’ll be where we want to be.

“But there are a lot of games coming up before the end of the season and there’s a lot of work to be put in.

“Winning games breeds confidence, it doesn’t matter how you do it, and we’ll be ready to go against Villa.”

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