Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday September 9 2007
The Potters' current skipper, Dominic Matteo has said that he would would like to secure his central midfield role for keeps.
Matteo was originally signed on a short term contract from Blackburn Rovers last season and spent the final half of the season acting mainly as backup to Salif Diao. Out of contract in the summer and without a renewed offer from Stoke, he was given permission to train with the first team squad during pre-season. In the absence of any new midfield signings and the departure of Darel Russell to Norwich, Tony Pulis had no other option but to offer the 33 year old former Scottish international a one year contract.
Since then, he has started all four matches and also been given the captain's armband after Higginbotham's departure at the end of August and whilst it has been emphasised that it is not necessarily a permanent promotion, it has indicated Pulis' new found confidence in the player and how he is respected by the remainder of the dressing room.
Matteo started his career with Liverpool, playing at Anfield for seven years, then moved to Leeds in 2000 where is was made captain during their ill-fated final Premiership season in 2003/04 before moving on to Blackburn Rovers, making a total of over 300 top flight appearances for the three clubs. Injury problems during 2005/06 saw him only playing seven games and he dropped out of Mark Hughes' plans before joining the Potters on a free transfer last January.
Dom is now keen that he gets a good run of matches under his belt. He told the official site: 'For anyone who is a utility player it is hard because you keep getting moved every week. So if I can just stay in this position now and make it my own I feel I will improve and be a good player for this club.
'Every position is totally different and it takes a few games to get used to it, but if the gaffer keeps me in the middle I know I am capable of doing a good job.'
Date:Sunday September 9 2007
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