Is Ben the Potters' new rising star?
19 year old Ben Marshall seems set to be given a contract extension despite yet to put on a Stoke shirt for the first team.
Marshall, along with Matthew Lund, joined from Crewe at the start of last season after being persuaded that their futures would be rosier in North Staffordshire rather than South Cheshire by the Potters' then youth coach Steve Holland who knew the lads from his own time at Gresty Road. Since then Ben has been honing his skills on loan at Northampton, Cheltenham and latterly Carlisle where he spent the last few months of last season and then rejoined them for an initial six month period this time around.
Tony Pulis has now said that Marshall will stay at Brunton Park for the remainder of the season, but has given a clear indication that he remains firmly in his plans by offering him a contract extension to 2012.
TP has always been keen to see any possible rising stars gaining first team experience with lower league clubs rather than playing reserve games. Along with Marshall, Louis Moult is away at Bradford, whilst Diego Arismendi is at Barnsley.
Whether they will ever get their chance to play for Stoke in the Premier League still remains to be seen. Most youngsters still fail to make that breakthrough with Andy Wilkinson the only Academy graduate that plays regularly in the starting eleven.