The Forgotten Men
A lot has been said about the seven new signings through the door at the Britannia Stadium this summer but what about those still at the club who have little hope of forcing their way back into TP`s thoughts?!
Since the loan transfer window re-opened for Football League clubs to sign players on an emergency basis, only two players -Michael Tonge and Danny Higginbotham- have left. With the club also out of the Capital One Cup this season those not included in the Premier League 25-man squad will be rotting on the sidelines, which neither the player of the club want.
Tony Scholes reiterated in his programme notes against Manchester City that it is unhealthy for a club, the size of Stoke City, to have so many players on the wage bill. 'Having made seven new signings in the summer window, there is now a need to balance things up.`
Carlo Nash, Diego Arismendi and Mamady Sidibe still remain and whilst there has been reported interest in Nash and Sidibe, nothing has materialised. Ryan Shotton, Rory Delap, Wilson Palacios, Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome, all of whom are in the 25-man squad, may also start to get itchy feet with their first-team opportunities limited.
Neither Nash nor Arismendi have played for the club in the Premier League, whilst Sidibe has been struck down by injuries for over two years now and faces a mammoth task trying to force out Peter Crouch or Kenwyne Jones to play the role of target-man.
As the reserve league has been scrapped and replaced with the Elite Development League aimed at Under21`s, players will start to become stale and of no use to the manager if they, and the club, are unable to find them a team to play competitively for while their long-term futures are decided.
It cannot be disputed that the club has done some great business down the years, but keeping players who have no realistic chance of getting into the team is creating unwarranted expenditure. Handing out contract extensions in recent years to the likes of Nash, Sidibe and Tonge have backfired and is something that cannot be sustained.
Be Loyal Be Proud Be Stoke