Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday May 9 2008
With the Potters' ascent to the Premier League confirmed, this season's final crop of loan players will be asking themselves if they want to be part of Stoke's Premier squad next season. So we take a look at who we think could be staying - and who may not be.
Shola Ameobi looks like turning down a proposed £4m move to the Brit - or is it Stoke that are having second thoughts on Shola? Either way, Peter Coates has said that he does not believe that we are under any binding agreement to take the Magpie who Kevin Keegan would love to offload and bank the cash. He never really had the chance to shine after being injured at Coventry, just as we went on our promotion winning final run and, not surprisingly, found it impossible to dislodge either Mamady Sidibe or Ricardo Fuller for a starting place.
Jay Bothroyd has been released by Wolves and it's doubtful if we'd be interested in taking him on after he just helped to make up the numbers whilst at the Brit.
Carlo Nash is keen to stay and has been very public in saying so, but does Tony Pulis favour his brief predecessor, Marton Fulop, over Nash for the number one jersey next season? Either way it looks like Steve Simonsen will have to settle for more time on the bench, unless he looks for pastures new.
Chris Riggott (pictured) impressed many during his stint at the Brit and it was disappointing to see him recalled by Middlesborough just two days before the final match. But then he went and made his mark by scoring the opening goal in their 2-0 win over Portsmouth which confirmed their Premier League survival. He was then back at the Brit the following day to watch his Stoke team mates gain promotion. He may fancy that he stands a better chance of regular first team football at Stoke next season and would be a popular signing.
Stephen Pearson joined from Derby at the same time as Ameobi but made three starts and did well for the Potters. I'm not sure though whether Pulis will see him as Prem League material considering he couldn't even get into Derby's relegation team.
Paul Gallagher was a popular signing after he excelled on loan at Stoke during the Boskamp era, but the higher calibre of player now at the club meant that his lack of quality showed and he was swiftly relegated to the reserves. How that leaves his career at Blackburn remains to be seen, but his time at Stoke is definitely over.
Gabriel Zakuani was another who returned for his second loan spell at the club. Gabby made 20 appearances after spending most of the season at the Brit, but ended up being a bit player even though he was highly thought of by fans.
What do you think? Have your say below
Date:Friday May 9 2008
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