The Opposition View - Stoke City
1) What are your expectations for the season?
My first expectation at the start of a season is survival, and it's no different this season. We had a poor back end to last season, and together with the lack of signings, a few weeks ago I was feeling very nervous about the Potters meeting my expectations, but after a couple of decent signings, my nerves have evaporated. I would personally like us to grab a top half finish this season.
2) Who are the player/s to look out for?
Well you've our obvious threat in Peter Crouch, well you can't really miss him. I think you should look out for our new signings because all of them are complete risks as such, which is very un-Tony Pulis like. All of the players are either complete unknowns in England or come with a troubled injury history. The signing I'm most looking forward to seeing as Geoff Cameron, who comes from the U.S. in very high esteem, hopefully he could be the bargain of the season.
3) Tony Pulis has certainly done a fantastic job at the helm, what do you think of direct style of play?
Well Tony plays to his squads strengths. Yes, it can be very dull and frustrating to watch, especially when he purchases exciting talent such as Tuncay and Jerome, but doesn't give these players a fair crack of the whip because they don't 'work aaaard enough'. With the addition of another few flair players, I think we will continue to develop into more a mixture of rugby as some people call it and football.
4) If you could sign one more player this transfer window, who would it be and why?
Jermaine Defoe. We've been linked with the England international the past couple of transfer windows, and he is exactly what we need. We need a fox in the box kind of player and someone who can sit on the last defender and feed off Crouch's link up play. Also, the fact that there is a ready made partnership between Crouch and Defoe could help us improve in front of goal and improve on our poor scoring record last season.
5) If you could offload any player from your team, who would it be and why?
Rory Delap/Ryan Shotton. I'm just sick of the throw now. Everyone has cottoned on to it and just isn't effective any more. Neither player brings anything, well very little to the side other than the throw, so I would like to see them move on now. (We will score against you now from a throw-in)
6) What's your prediction for the game?
I'm going for a draw in this one. You're going be right up for it in front of your crowd, new owners and it being your first game back in the big time. I think you'll score first through Pogrebnyak but Crouch will level for us.