Michael O’Neill moved back to a front-three at Luton – and that meant recalls for Tyrese Campbell and Nick Powell.
Both had come off the bench to help seal a draw with Birmingham last time out and both were instrumental in a 2-0 win this time, with Campbell – wide on the right – setting up the opener for Steven Fletcher and Powell – wide on the left – scoring the second.
Campbell, who linked up well with Fletcher, has had success playing in that role.
And O’Neill said: “I like him playing off the right in that situation. We forget at times that Ty is only 20, he’s a young player. We had Nathan Collins, Harry Souttar, Josh Tymon, all 21 and under playing in the team. That was a positive.
“Ty when he plays off the right, he’s up against a full-back more often than not than a centre-back and that probably helps him a little bit physically. He looked a threat every time we could get him the ball today in that area of the pitch.”
The manager had praise for Powell too.
How far can this Stoke team go?
Injury update on absent four
Michael O’Neill said: “Morgan Fox has a tight calf, James Chester also with a tight calf. James McClean has a foot injury too. Jordan Cousins is still coming back. We’ve got a few bodies to get back.
“It was good to get through the game while missing a few players.”
Nick Powell, Steven Fletcher and Tyrese Campbell were all withdrawn with injury too at Luton but all were walking wounded as they made the way back to Stoke.
Nathan Jones’s post-match verdict
A familiar line here from the Luton manager.
“Statistically we’ve had a fantastic game but we haven’t scored, they have and that cost us,” he said.
Stoke actually won on xG too, 0.86 to 0.78 in a game of few big chances.
You can read Jones’s post-match interview here, including a line on how Luton should know what Steven Fletcher does, having seen him do it for about 80 years.
Stoke City player ratings at Luton
Was Powell your man of the match, too?