Writer: Lloyd Reddin
Date:Friday August 31 2012
Stoke are about to travel north to the DW Stadium to face the Houdini of the Premier League Wigan Athletic this weekend. Vital Stoke Editor Lloyd Reddin took the trip a few days early to ask Vital Wigan`s Editor 'Worbo` for his thoughts.
1. You`ve had an interesting transfer window with a few big players such as Moses and Rodallega leaving, how do you think your window has gone?
Transfer window has been quite good to be honest, Rodallega hardly featured last season and Diame didn`t play much from January onwards, mostly subs appearances, but I`d have liked us to have got fees for them instead of their contracts being allowed to run down
We`ve also lost Moses who will be missed, though we got £9 mil for him, which when you consider Wolves got £10m+ for Jarvis is a little on the cheap side. Reserve striker Conor Sammon was also sold to Derby for £2 million
Our incomings, Fraser Fyvie, 19 year old centre mid from Aberdeen, great prospect, Ivan Ramis, centre back from Mallorca, he cost £4 million but looks like a rock, we also picked up Ryo Miyaichi from Arsenal on a season long loan, now he looks a terrific talent
Most exciting summer signing though has to be Arouna Koné, Ivory Coast international signed from La Liga side Levante. A striker who knows how to score, he`s quick, powerful and direct, scored a terrific goal at Southampton last weekend, we`re hoping for big things from Koné this season
2. Do you believe you need to add anything else to your squad before the end of the window?
No, we`re looking pretty good to be honest, we have some strength in depth, not an overly full squad but quality back up for every position.
3. What do you think of the relationship your manager and chairman has? Do you believe Martinez is the right man for the job?
Martinez and Whelan are like father and son, they have a brilliant relationship, when Martinez was first signed back in 1995 he lived in Whelan`s old house, they have had a close relationship ever since. Is he the right man for the job? Without any doubt. We have one of the top managers around, he has his heart and soul in the club, he has revitalised the very foundations since he came back as manager, sorted out our non-existence youth policy, which is now thriving, the first team play great football, the atmosphere within the squad that he has built is fantastic. Yep he`s the right man alright.
4. What are your expectations for the coming season?
Expectations are always realistic, so when I say we are capable of a top ten finish that isn`t built on blind support, obviously you need a bit of luck and rub of the green, but our form since February as been nothing short of sensational and it looks likely to continue if the way we played in our first three games are anything to go by
5. Who is your danger man?
Shaun Maloney makes us tick, he plays just behind the strikers and makes a great link man, Di Santo has been in good form, but look out for Koné
6. What would you say your strengths are as a team?
Counter attacking and possession football, we use both to great effect
7. What would you say your weaknesses are as a team?
We can sometimes over egg the pudding, 35 passes when three would do and we end up losing the ball in dangerous positions
8. Which player (s) do you fear from the Stoke City side?
Jon Walters is direct and strong, I also like your new signing from Wolves Michael Kightly, good player
9. Is there any Stoke players you would like to add to your squad?
Definitely Kightly and can we have Wilson Palacios back please?
10. How do you think Stoke will do this season?
To be honest I think you are in for a tough season, I don`t think you are heading for the trap door, but it will be close, the form you have shown at the back end of last season is the gauge I am using and it was terrible, you now got just the one win from 15 games counting the three from this season, not good by anyone`s books
11. What is your likely line-up for the match?
------------Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa
12. Finally, what`s your score prediction for the match?
2-1 home win for the Latics
Thank you for the Wigan chief to take time out of his busy schedule and answer our questions before this weekend`s Premier League tie.
Date:Friday August 31 2012
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