Writer: Matt Rowley
Date:Friday August 31 2007
As I write this preview for tomorrow`s game against promotion favourites Wolves the only addition to Stoke`s threadbare squad is the re-signing of defender Gabriel Zakuani on a season long loan deal. While Zakuani is a very talented young defender, and was quite impressive in his first spell at the club, this is not really what the doctor ordered as far as strengthening the squad is concerned.
It is looking as though we will remain with the same midfield that lost at Southampton last week and they will need to continue to pay above expectations if we are to pull off a result against a very talented Wolverhampton Wanderers side. Stoke will once again being relying on Ricardo Fuller and the rest of their attack to fire them to victory as the rest of the field remains weak. As Jody Craddock is on loan from tomorrow's opponents he cannot play, which should mean Clint Hill moving into centre half and Carl Dickinson being recalled to left back.
While Stoke and Tony Pulis have struggled to attract the players that they wanted to 'push on' from last season, Wolves and Mick McCarthy have had no such worries. After reaching the play-offs last season, they have improved their squad well with players such as Freddie Eastwood and Matt Jarvis to add to other stars such as Michael Kightly, Seyi Olifinjana, and Andrew Keogh. They have made a decent start to the season with six points from their first three games but a home defeat to Morecambe in mid-week may have dented their confidence.
Key player (Stoke)
We`ll probably need some more of his magic if we are going to get a result tomorrow.
Key player (opposition)
Scored in each game for Southend against the Potters last season and his finishing ability will need to be watched carefully.
Zakuani Shawcross Hill Dickinson
Lawrence Delap Matteo Cresswell
Date:Friday August 31 2007
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