Writer: Tom Mckeon
Date:Wednesday August 24 2011
The Britannia Stadium
25th August 2011
Stoke are looking to book themselves a place in the Europa League group stages tomorrow night as they take on Swiss side FC Thun for the second time in a week in their play-off tie.
The Potters head into the game with a 1-0 advantage from the first leg thanks to a sweet Danny Pugh volley and have every reason to be optimistic .
However, they will be without two of the football club's most influential players.
Whilst Stoke head into the game with a lead and a crucial away goal, Tony Pulis maintains the Potters must be aware of the 'nothing to lose' approach of the Swiss side.
'Robert and Matty will be a loss for us, and it's a reminder that this will be a tough game for us.
'We did superbly out in Switzerland to win there, but now we must make sure we finish the job'
'They will come here thinking they have nothing to lose, which makes them dangerous, and we saw enough last week to know they can be a threat.'
The extra games in Europe can bring glory but it can also breed problems, with Stoke's threadbare squad being tested already, as Pulis admitted :
'It does put an extra stress on the playing side and at the moment we haven't got the depth to cope with it.'
'When you play a midweek game here it's normally on a Tuesday, which gives you a day off and then two days to prepare for the weekend game.
'But last week we played Thursday, travelled Friday and had one day to get ready for the game at Norwich.
'It's all new to us and we are learning as we go along. I'm not complaining because it's a measure of our success, but I do hope our fans understand and give our lads the support they will need against Thun.'
Danny Pugh was the hero of last week's game, and he also told stokecityfc.com how the tie is far from over.
"It's not done and dusted by any means, no way,we have a huge job to finish off and we know from last week that they are a pretty decent team who like to get the ball down and play a little bit.
"We do have the advantage, but in two legged affairs that doesn't make any difference really. We still have to go out there on Thursday, be professional and play the game like it is still 0-0.
He added: "They are going extremely well in their league so we can't afford to underestimate them one single bit. It will be tough, but we have the belief that if we can play to our strengths then we can finish the job off."
Matty Etherington and Robert Huth both picked up bookings in the first leg so will miss tonight's tie due to suspension.
Pulis will be therefore be pinning his hopes on Jermaine Pennant and Rory Delap to recover from their injury problems and feature against the current Swiss league leaders.
The 27-year-old played well in the first leg, topping his performance off with a goal and with the absence of Etherington and the possible emission of Pennant, the onus on will be on the former Manchester United trainee to supply the ammunition to Jones and Walters.
FC Thun keeper David da Costa will miss the game after being sent off in the last minute for fouling Jon Walters when the striker looked set to put the tie to bed.
OK - so he isn't a player, but the reaction of FC Thun Bernard Challandes after his side's defeat last week was extremely funny.
Expect similar antics tomorrow night from the 60-year-old, especially if he isn't happy with refereeing decisions!
Stoke 2-0 FC Thun Thun struggled in the first game and despite the absences of Huth & Etherington I still expect the Potters to have way too much at home as Stoke swamp the Swiss with set pieces.
West Brom away, Sunday 28th August.
Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!
Date:Wednesday August 24 2011
Walters hands in transfer request (Monday August 31 2015)
Baggies Edge 9-Man Potters (Saturday August 29 2015)
Stats: Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion (Saturday August 29 2015)
Stoke reject second Norwich Walters bid (Saturday August 29 2015)
Afellay recalled to Holland squad (Saturday August 29 2015)
The Stoke City Injury Table.. (Friday August 28 2015)
FSF Match Day Protest Over Prices - Stoke (Thursday August 27 2015)
Stoke face trip to Fulham in Capital One cup Third Round (Tuesday August 25 2015)
Stoke survive penalty scare to advance against Luton (Tuesday August 25 2015)
Stats: Luton Town v Stoke City (Tuesday August 25 2015)
|Daniels: Hopefully it will not be long term
» AFC Bournemouth : 01/09/2015 05:00:01
|Walters hands in transfer requeat
» Stoke : 31/08/2015 23:25:01
|Andreu Set For Rotherham Loan
» Norwich : 31/08/2015 21:57:01
|Transfer Deadline Day - Get An Early Night
» Arsenal : 31/08/2015 21:55:01
|Mbokani Signs For Norwich
» Norwich : 31/08/2015 21:48:01