We enjoyed a lively little Q & A in the wake of Stoke’s 1-1 draw at Reading and the selection posers that result and performance threw up.
Here’s a little selection of the ground we covered…
Some results went our way Saturday, others didn’t, getting very nervous. Do you think we have enough gas in the tank to stay up? (Larry Dublin)
Martin Spinks: Definitely Larry.
Been saying it all season, there’s no real excuse for Stoke to go down given the squad they have.
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These players only have to perform to their potential to get the job done over the next eight games, while other clubs will have to play above themselves to get the results they need.
This was a club and set of players that needed a calm hand on the tiller, someone who could exude authority and give confidence, and be a good man manager in the process, and in Michael O’Neill we seem to have just that.
Did Sorensen’s inclusion give an insight into O’Neill’s long-term thinking? (Baz, Blythe Bridge)
MS: Without a doubt.
He hasn’t been afraid to give youth a chance and maybe trying to send a message out to some of his older pros.
We all remember how much he stuck his neck out on the Campbell contract, while seeing Nathan Collins at right back suggests he rates him highly, even in his `B’ position.
As for Sorensen, the manager has clearly been impressed with his athleticism and felt that might be needed at Reading on a hit mid-June day and without a Joe Allen tearing round the pitch.
Will be really interesting to see if he fits the bill for the manager this coming weekend.
Whats going on with Etebo and Badou? Have their loans been extended past 30th June or will they be returning to us next week? (Dan, Stoke)
MS: Both are playing on where they are as things stand Dan.
The bigger question is whether either have a long-term future at the club.
Given what was said (and not said) by the manager in January, you have to wonder if we’ll see either in a Stoke shirt again.
A pity, but you can understand the manager wanting players who aren’t looking over their shoulder for their next move.
Should O’Neill be looking for a long-term successor for Shawcross given his latest setback? (Danny, Nantwich)
MS: There’s already one being groomed – Nathan Collins – and fingers crossed he can be somewhere near the defender Ryan has been.
I refuse to believe the end is nigh for Ryan, Danny, but obviously there’s concerns about this tendency for niggly injuries at his age.
If James Chester does sign, there may not be an awful lot more movement transfer wise at centre half this summer.