Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Wednesday April 11 2007
Tony Pulis has said that he has warmed to Potters' and Belgium international defender Carl Hoefkens after a rocky start to their relationship at the beginning of the season.
Pulis originally dropped the Potters' 'player of the season' at the start of October amid accusations that the player was not pulling his weight, which led to Hoefkens to announce that 'I was soothed with weak excuses, such as that my children are keeping me from my sleep, on Saturday I played the complete game [in an international for Belgium] but, if things do not change, I will be gone in the winter.'
Hoefkens: I'm not hanging around
January saw the club receive a tempting offer from Belgium club, Club Brugges, said to be in the region of £350,000 but although Hoefkens travelled to Belgium to discuss terms, a deal was never likely as he had made it quite clear his family enjoyed living in England and had no intention of moving back.
Hoefkens was then later forced into a formal denial of a rift with his manager after BBC Radio Stoke wrongly reported that there had been an altercation after the match at Plymouth Argyle at the beginning of March
Hoefkens hits back at rift claims
With our on-going midfield injury crisis, Pulis has chosen to move Carl up into midfield, which has allowed him to push more up into attack - a role which he clearly likes and is reminiscent of last season under Johan Boskamp's oddly Dutch interpretation of 'sexy football' which first enamoured him to Potters' fans.
Although it's taken the best part of a season, it now seems that Pulis has now realised what Stoke fans have known for nearly two seasons.
Speaking to the Sentinel, he acknowledged 'He's been a credit to himself and the dressing room'.
'He's played the last couple of games with pain-killing injections in his foot', revealed Pulis, 'and has been prepared to fill in wherever we have needed him in defence or midfield'.
With Carl's contract up for renewal in the summer, I would suggest to Tony Scholes and Peter Coates that they make sure that his is the first signature they get.
Date:Wednesday April 11 2007
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