Thu, May

Kenwyne Jones vs Manchester City

Kenwyne Jones has been fined two weeks' wages by Stoke City after texting manager Mark Hughes to say he was unavailable to play against Liverpool.

The Trinidad and Tobago striker was hit with an £80,000 penalty after failing to report for Sunday's game.

Jones, who has six months left on his contract, contacted his manager on Saturday night to say he had no intention of turning up at the Britannia Stadium.

Stoke were unsure whether he would carry through his threat but it became evident that the 29-year-old would not be playing after he failed to attend the team's pre-match meal at the club's Clayton Wood training ground.

Hughes was understandably furious and his only comment to media who enquired after the 5-3 defeat to Liverpool was that Jones had been 'unavailable'.

The manager and chief executive Tony Scholes were called to a meeting with the player and his agent after training on Monday.

Stoke, who immediately censured the striker for breach of contract after he effectively withdrew his labour, believe that Jones may have another club waiting in the wings - Everton are among his admirers.

However, a suggestion that the player ought to be allowed to write off the remainder of his deal was laughed at by club officials.

Stoke would save themselves £1million in wages but Jones would then be free to sign for someone else during the transfer window without Stoke receiving a fee.

Hughes is baffled by the whole incident, particularly as Jones played in the FA Cup defeat of Leicester City the previous week and did well.

Jones has seen his place in the side taken by Peter Crouch, who has grasped the opportunity and given himself a new lease of life in the Potteries.

But there was no indication from the management before Sunday's game that Jones would not be playing.

Hughes has no intention of allowing the forward to leave while he remains in the hunt for additional firepower. Stoke are committed to bringing in one, if not two, strikers this month.

Hughes is not going to leave himself short of options by agreeing to sanction Jones' exit with the club still needing to safeguard their top flight status during the decisive second half of the season.