Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday April 28 2006
30th April 2006
Stoke City must make the long trip south to the seaside on a bank holiday weekend for the final match of the season against relegated Brighton and to enjoy the makeshift surroundings of the Withdean Stadium.
It seems now certain that this will be Johan Boskamp’s final match in charge as the interminable takeover negotiations continue and Boskamp’s patience has finally worn too thin.
This is a game that Stoke should win, so that they can end the season in a respectable, if not creditable top half position. Brighton, in contrast, will be looking for a final scalp so that they do not pick up the wooden spoon.
In the Brighton squad will be that roving footballer, Gifton Noel Williams, now on loan to Brighton and enjoying his third outing this season against his former team-mates. He has been on a relative roll since joining the Seagulls, scoring two goals in eight games.
Ex Brighton player, Leon Knight, greeted his former team mates relegation by exclaiming 'It was terrific to see Brighton go down, I've still got a few mates in the dressing room and I've been hearing a few things'.
I don't think he'll have many left after comments like that.
Seagull's manager, Mark McGhee has stated that he will put his strongest team out, but will be without Dean Hammond who is suspended and Paul McShane who has returned to Manchester United after completing his loan period.
If only because he's playing against his former team-mates and if he fancies playing in League One next season, may also want to impress McGhee.
The Potters end the season without the services of Paul Gallagher, who has been recalled to Blackburn Rovers which should enable Adam Rooney to have a second successive start. Josip Skoko, on loan from Wigan, could return from injury. Youngsters, Carl Dickinson and Martin Paterson may also get another chance in the starting line-up.
After last week's clean sweep of 'Player of the Season' awards, we'll be looking for justification of our faith in the Belgium international defender.
The Potters could make this seven wins out of seven by rolling over the Seagulls again on Sunday.
Stoke won the home leg convincingly back in November with two from Sammy Bangoura (do you remember when he used to score goals?) and one from Darel Russell.
K Wright was also the ref at that game at the Brit in November.
Some time in August - enjoy the World Cup!
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Date:Friday April 28 2006
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