Michael O’Neill knows Tyrese Campbell will become a marked man in the Championship after the forward inspired another three points.
Campbell, aged 20, scored twice in an entertaining 4-3 win over Huddersfield at a drenched bet365 Stadium, taking his season tally to six with five assists – and Stoke to seventh, three points off leaders Norwich, who visit the Potteries tomorrow.
He has been thriving in an outside right or left role next to Steven Fletcher and Nick Powell and he will have to get used to dealing with closer attention.
O’Neill said: “Tye had a lot of opportunities against Huddersfield.
“Clearly we will see teams in this league now start to fear him. We have to find ways to isolate him, which I think we do quite well.
“Fletch and Nick Powell take the pressure off him a little bit and he benefits from that but he’s in a rich vein of form and he has to continue with that.”
Stoke remain one point outside the play-off places after a dramatic match which saw Joe Bursik made his debut and Sam Clucas cap his comeback from injury with a fine solo goal.
O’Neill said: “We’re not focusing really on where we are in the table. We just want to continue with the start we’ve had, keep chipping away, keep the momentum, keep adding points, try to put a run together where we don’t lose and make sure that if we don’t win games that we take something, that we build a better resilience.
“I think we’ve seen that this season and at the tail end of last season and that’s going to be important going forward.”
Bursik, also aged 20, had been recalled as an emergency from a loan spell at Doncaster after senior keepers Adam Davies and Angus Gunn were both ruled out with injuries.
He was vocal throughout, not bothered about barking orders to older and more experienced teammates including a Champions League winner like John Obi Mikel.
“That’s part of Joe, he doesn’t lack confidence,” said O’Neill. “He has very good attributes and he gives good information to his defenders and he has that personality about him as a goalkeeper. I thought he handled the situation very well.”
He added: “I thought he did well. He wasn’t at fault for any of the goals.
“It was a difficult day for a goalkeeper with the conditions but he kicked very well and his starting positions were very good. He came out of his box a couple of times to make interceptions.
“And you could hear him in the game.
“It’s good for him. I’m sure he came in hoping to keep a clean sheet but the fact is we won the game and he played a big part in that.
“This is the nature of this league, as a goalkeeper you will concede goals at times. But it was a good start for him.”
Stoke were forced back at times as Huddersfield threw caution to the wind.
O’Neill said: “I think we have to give credit to the opposition as well. Huddersfield are a very good team and we expected them to come and play as they did.
“We had to try to keep our shape, they like it to be very open with a bit of chaos. We talked about it before the game but it’s hard to keep control of the game at times in that situation.
“What we did very well was win the ball back high up the pitch. We created a lot of opportunities off the back of that.
“When you concede three at home you’re always going to have disappointments, we’ll look at the goals and where we could be better. But the fact is we’re scoring goals, creating chances and we took the three points.”