Will summer recruits spell change of approach?
With the transfer window now slammed shut and the arrival of seven new players, the manager and supporters can now hopefully look forward to a fruitful season in the top flight.
The stand out arrivals will undoubtedly be Charlie Adam from Liverpool and Michael Owen on a free after his release from Manchester United, but the signatures of Geoff Cameron and Michael Kightly will prove vitally important.
Jamie Ness, Maurice Edu and Steven N`Zonzi all posses qualities that will further improve the team and their inclusion in the club`s 25 man squad list, along with fellow midfielders Glenn Whelan, Rory Delap, Dean Whitehead, Cameron and Adam, have led some supporters to believe a change of approach could be on the cards.
Andy Wilkinson`s departure during the first-half at Wigan last Saturday certainly suggested this as Tony Pulis reshuffled his pack and decided to change to a 3-5-2 formation with Charlie Adam coming on for his debut.
His willingness to change to a plan B was pleasing whilst it also bore fruits. The extra man in midfield allowed the team to support the front two far more effectively which saw us create many good chances.
The change in formation replicated a similar approach taken by Wigan since the turn of the year. The Latics played themselves out of trouble towards the end of last season whilst also taking the scalps of some top teams, despite being on a limited budget.
Pulis` summer arrivals certainly have the capacity to either enhance the current 4-4-1-1 formation or, build the foundations to offer up a more expansive style of play for the Potteries faithful to enjoy.
If the manager is contemplating a shift then striking the right balance will be crucial in what has become the most important campaign in the club`s history. The new mega-bucks television deal will come into effect from the start of next season so survival is essential.
That coveted 40 point barrier will be the first thing on Pulis` mind, but with a wealth of footballing talent at his disposal and a goal machine in Michael Owen, hopefully that barrier can be surpassed even quicker this season and in some style!