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Stoke to play waiting game once again?

Saturday 25th June 2011
Even with Stoke's first venture into European football for 37 years only beginning in less than five weeks, the belief around the Potteries is that Welsh supreme Tony Pulis will wait until the last moments of the transfer window to add to his squad once again. This has obviously worked in the previous three seasons, so why should he change his approach this season I hear you say?

Well with the added games due to European competition, Pulis will need to add both quality and depth in most positions of his current squad, and with other teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Norwich and Sunderland moving quickly in the market, Mr Pulis may miss out on some attractive players that would love to set up base in Stoke-on-Trent.

During transfer windows Pulis keeps a lot under his patented Baseball cap and keeps his cards close to his chest. Phrases such as "There are irons in the fire" are used commonly by the Newport born manager. This suggests that there is a lot going on behind the scenes on the transfer front but allows Pulis to avoid actually answering the question and doesn't actually state who the club is after. This frustrates fans who want to know everything that's going on with the club, but this tactic has seemed to work for the previous three seasons.

Historically, Pulis signs his players late in the transfer window which also  frustrates many a fan. Most fans state they would love new signings to have a full pre season to settle in and gel with there new team mates, and believe that's why Stoke don't normally have a strong start to the season.

A strong start  is definitely required this campaign though, as Stoke have a difficult start with home games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool in the first 6 games and with the added pressure of possibly 4 qualification games for the Europa League, the club's European adventure could be over before it's even started.

There are other issues some fans have with Pulis managerial approach, but not one person can honestly say that Pulis hasn't done a "triffic" job at the club.

The constantly running rumour mill has already spat out 41 names that have been linked with the club, with several of these targets already moving to alternate clubs. The latest name to be linked with the Potteries is energetic young  Chelsea hit-man Daniel Sturridge, which would be a massive coup for the club, maybe the lure of European Competition and first team football may be too much for the England Under-21 international to turn down.

A lot of the 41 players being linked with the club are from the recently relegated sides, which Pulis has seemed to raid each season, with mixed results. Dave Kitson and Ibrahima Sonko were brought in from Reading in the first season, which turned out to be expensive flops for the club. The following season Pulis brought in Robert Huth and Tuncay Sanli from Middlesbrough which turned out to be more successful but Tuncay Sanli has recently moved on to pastures new. Finally, Pulis brought in Republic of Ireland's young Midfielder Marc Wilson from Portsmouth which has turned out to be a shrewd move, with the players versatility a major factor.

A strong rumour coming out of the Britannia Stadium is that Pulis is looking to add European experience to his squad for the forthcoming European campaign, but this is a manager that has previously been dismissed from the Club by the previous owners for "not exploiting the foreign market."

It is still to be seen whether any of the rumours will come to fruition, or whether Pulis will bring in European experience or change his tactics on when he brings in his new players, but one thing is for sure, next season will be a very interesting and exciting time for Stoke City Football Club.
Lloyd Reddin
I'm a Stoke City season holder and try to get to as many away games as I can. I'm currently studying Sports Journalism at Staffs Uni and would love to the move into the industry.

Total articles: 10

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