Ahead of Saturday's game at the Britannia
Stadium, we caught up once more with Rob, from the Stoke City blog
He gives us his views on his
start to the season,
their summer transfer dealings,
the match itself
and more. You can also follow
Rob on Twitter @ChiefDelilah.
After such a
good 2014/15, and seemingly impressive dealings in the transfer market over the
summer, hopes must be high that the Potters are in for another good season?
Well yes and no really.
Certainly after the way we finished last season, hammering Liverpool and
finishing 9th again, and with the fairly high-profile names we've brought in, we
were all hoping to push on this season. But that feeling has been tempered by
the loss of basically the spine of our side. Asmir Begovic we'll probably be ok
without as we've got the excellent Jack Butland, but Steven Nzonzi leaves a huge
hole - he was the engine of Hughes' team, the key cog. Ryan Shawcross is our
captain, leader and organiser at the back and he's out indefinitely with a back
problem too. So we're well aware that it might be more difficult than we
imagined this season.
from that, are you disappointed with results so far and how have performances
Results haven't been too bad,
given we've got new players settling in and key players out - two away draws and
an unlucky defeat at home to
Liverpool. I'm a bit concerned that we're not really creating much
while being incapable of keeping a clean sheet, that's not a good look. Yet
we've started slowly in each of Hughes' previous two seasons and got
progressively stronger, so we're prepared to be patient.
been linked with Jon Walters a number of times over the last few months, can you
see a move happening and what would he offer us if such a move did happen?
I'd like him to stay but
contract talks aren't going well, so yeah, I could definitely see him going,
sadly. What he brings is work rate. He isn't the quickest or the most
technically gifted but he absolutely has no quit in him, he will press and harry
and monster defenders and get into good positions and run the legs of people.
He's a whirling dervish. Pulis' ideal player really.
Happy with the
club's summer transfer dealings? Anything else you need to do before the window
shuts next week?
I'm happy with the players we've
brought in, it's an interesting collection. Shaqiri obviously is an incredible
signing and we're still pinching ourselves over that one. Shay Given and Glen
Johnson are experienced and add depth. We've not seen too much yet from Marco
van Ginkel, Ibrahim Affelay or Joselu but all arrive with a strong pedigree.
Though we've signed about nine
players I still think we need a few more. There's no leader at the back with
Shawcross out so we need an experienced centre back (Lescott would've been
nice). Marko Arnautovic on the left could use some competition. Being greedy, a
box to box midfielder, even a pale imitation of Nzonzi, would be pretty welcome
at this point.
Anywhere between 8th - 12th.
You'll be fine, say, 12th -
15th. I can see your fans tiring of TP a lot sooner than ours did though. He
doesn't have the credit in the bank there he had with us after getting us
promoted to the top flight for the first time in 23 years and keeping us up. I
think Baggies fans will work out more quickly that he's not playing that way
because needs must or he has to, but because it's the only way he knows. There
aren't going to be any proper full backs or creative midfielders coming in. He
doesn't do them.
Sunderland, Bournemouth, Watford
and tactics can we expect to see from Stoke on Saturday?
We've been playing 4-1-4-1.
Butland in goal, a back four of Johnson, Cameron, Muniesa, Pieters. Whelan
sitting in front of them. The Dutch lads, van Ginkel and Affelay, in front of
him, and then Arnautovic and Shaqiri out wide and Diouf up front.
I think that's what he'll go
with again, though I'd like to see Stephen Ireland come in and play behind the
striker in a 4-2-3-1 with Affelay dropping to the bench.
thoughts on the game?
0-0. Last on Match of the Day.