It’s the turn of Vital Stoke to answer some questions.
Ahead of the Stoke clash, we asked Lloyd Reddin from Vital Stoke some questions.
Q1. Obviously our recent problems are well documented but how’s Stoke doing?
Well we are certainly a club still on the up, in recent years we have sorted our performance out on the pitch and with us getting to the promise land and staying there, we have forced our way into being an established premier club. We’ve enjoyed an cup run and european adventure and with all that going swimmingly, our messiah Mr Coates has decided to pump money into the club off the field, with a stadium extension being planned along with a state of the art youth complex to go along with our impressive training facilities at Clayton Wood.
Q2. Has the playing style changed in any way?
Our style of play has slowly evolved throughout our stay in the Premier League, with this years style being the biggest shift. A change in formation has seen us move to 5 in midfield to accommodate our exciting new signings from the summer. Adam has been installed in the number 10 role and has been told to stay as close to Mr Crouch as possible, which I see as waste. We still try to get the ball as forward as possible as quick as we can but when we get in the final third we play alot more football, especially with the addition of the general that is Steven N’Zonzi. The Frenchmen could easily walk into any of the top 5’s midfields.
Q3. Would you say you are bang on form or have you any issues with how you may line up?
I wouldn’t say that we were bang on form as I’ve already mentioned, we are continuing to develop our style of play and Pulis is still trying to find the right combination, along with the long term injury of Marc Wilson, we are having to play Geoff Cameron at left back, who is doing a fine job, but it means that our local lad Ryan Shotton is having to fill in, and he just isn’t good enough. Our home has been tremendous though since the turn of the year and we are now 13 unbeaten and have only conceded one goal at the Brit this which was over the champions Man City.
Q4. How do Stoke fans see their manager Tony Pulis? Is he doing a good job or is there certain things that he does wrong?
Tony Pulis is like marmite between the Stoke fans. Some people love him and some people just hate him, but everyone respects him and grateful of what he and Peter Coates has done for the club. All the fans are never going be happy with Pulis, whether it’s his tactics, team selection, the way he portrays himself in the media or his transfer policy but deep down every one knows he is the right man for the job.
Q5. What can we expect tonight?
You can expect to come to a cold and wet Britannia Stadium where we will try to bully you and nullify your strike force in a disciplined manner. We will look to get the ball forward as quick as possible and play off Peter Crouch. We will also try to counter attack down the wings, with both wingers running their selves into the ground after a lot of running back and forth. Prepare for a battle!
Q6. Who should we be looking out for?
You should be looking out for our midfield duo of Steven N’Zonzi & Charlie Adam, who will both look to control the tempo of the game and attempt to play the killer ball.
Q7. What’s the thought’s on Horse Botherer.. A.K.A. Micheal Owen?
Well he grows a decent moustache and is appalling at punditry. Dunno how he is with a round thing seeing as he has constantly been injured. It is looking more and more like a publicity stunt from the club to sell shirts. If he put as much effort as he has done in trying to get a TV gig to get fit then we might actually see him in action any time soon.
Q8. How do you view our manager? Does he get on the nerves? Would you say he’s a good fit into our club?
I personally like the manager and wouldn’t replace any time soon, but my god he can get on my nerves at time. I think we’re too alike as we’re both stubborn so and so’s who will not admit that their wrong. He will sometimes keep a player in the starting line up that just isn’t up to scratch or fall out with a player ala Pennant and will not resolve the issue, which would be better for the side as a whole.
Q9. Which players will you be fearing tomorrow?
Obviously Demba Ba, his record over us since our breakdown in talks has been phenomenal and his perfect hat-trick last year made for horrible viewing. Hopefully with Huth and Shawcross on supreme form, we will be able to keep him at bay.
Q10. Are you expecting us to come out all guns blazing or do you think we’re on the slide?
You’ll be out to prove a point after a recent poor run of form but I just can’t see you get anything with our current home form. You’re on a slide but I think you will soon turn it around and fly straight back up the table.
Q11. Do you think we are suffering a Euro hangover?
I think you’re suffering a european hangover in the same sense we did last year. You aren’t playing a full strength side in europe so it shouldn’t really effect your league form, but the travelling and disruption through training in the week and the constant Sunday matches seem to be holding you back.
Q12. Where do you think Stoke will finish this season? Does this fit in with your ambition?
I think we will finish between 10th-14th which fits right into my mid table ambition. Hopefully in years to come, we can slowly move from a mid table side into a constant top half side.
Q13. And us?
I was expecting you to have a tougher season this year but still be around the 8th place mark, but your lack of activity in the summer has seem you drop off a bit so I think you will finish similar to us. 11th.
Q14. Where can you see yourselves in 3 years?
Hopefully in 3 years time we can be an established top half side and hopefully have another european run, maybe after winning an domestic cup.
Q15. Predictions for the game?
Think we will just nick it. 1-0 or 2-0