Saido Berahino breaks his silence as Stoke City star shows his class


LJ’s plan

Bristol City boss Lee Johnson believes that a tournament-type schedule is the best resolution for the Championship season.

All elite football in the UK has been suspended, as the country attempts to come to terms with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Resumption dates have already been moved back from the end of April, with the season now extended indefinitely.

The EFL and Premier League have both reaffirmed their commitment to completing the season, but there is a genuine fear that fixtures may not be fulfilled.

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Adam Davies, Adam Federici.

Defenders: Danny Batth, Moritz Bauer**, James Chester*, Nathan Collins, Tom Edwards, Liam Lindsay, Bruno Martins Indi, Ryan Shawcross, Tommy Smith, Harry Souttar**, Josh Tymon, Stephen Ward, Kevin Wimmer**.

Midfielders: Joe Allen, Sam Clucas, Jordan Cousins, Peter Etebo**, James McClean, Badou Ndiaye**, Nick Powell, Ollie Shenton**, Lasse Sorensen, Ryan Woods**.

Forwards: Benik Afobe**, Tyrese Campbell, Mame Diouf, Lee Gregory, Tom Ince, Julien Ngoy, Thibaud Verlinden, Sam Vokes.

*on loan

**out on loan

Heading home

It appears as though Badou N’Diaye will be returning to Stoke City this summer, amid reports that Turkish outfit Trabzonspor will not be looking into a deal to make his loan arrangement a permanent one.

The Potters permitted Senegalese international N’Diaye, who remains one of the club’s most expensive ever signings, a loan exit in the January transfer window after the installation of Michael O’Neill as the club’s boss.

He headed for Super Lig side Trabzonspor, where former Leeds United striker Caleb Ekuban and Crystal Palace flop Alexander Sorloth currently ply their trade.

Badou Ndiaye is with Trabzonspor on loan from Stoke City.

Promising update

Lee Johnson has revealed that he could have Benik Afobe back for the remainder of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic forcing football to be suspended.

The Bristol City manager signed Stoke City forward Afobe on a season-long loan deal last summer in the hope of reigniting his career when he made for Ashton Gate.

Under Robins boss Johnson, he hit the ground running, scoring three times in his first six league appearances.

Lee Johnson, Manager of Bristol City reacts at the final whistle during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Derby County at Ashton Gate

The plan of attack

Stoke City have been told their season can be completed in 56 days when it is safe to resume after the coronavirus pandemic.

The Potters are in 17th place in the Sky Bet Championship table, and battling to avoid relegation to League One with nine matches remaining.

However, their campaign is currently suspended until further notice in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The EFL hopes the season can resume and finish at some point, though it is not yet clear when that might be.

Here, we answer some key questions about the Football League’s plan…

Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium

Classy gesture

James Chester is a Stoke City player who has been vocal about his concerns and hopes in isolation amid the coronavirus crisis.

As part of a column, the Aston Villa loanee has revealed how he is playing his part in supporting the NHS.

With Chester temporarily making the move from Birmingham to Stoke, his old property in England’s second city has been left empty – but not for long.

The Welsh international has donated his vacant flat to a scheme to help NHS staff.

James Chester appeals for a penalty against a Matty Pennington handball as Stoke take on Hull.

Pointing fingers

Stoke City flop Saido Berahino know he has a lot to prove, and to himself more than anyone, after comments made by Glen Johnson attacking the character of the striker.

His move to Stoke City cost him, and the club – and didn’t work out for any party involved bar West Bromwich Albion who picked up a fee for the player.

Berahino – now in Belgium – believes that the speed of the move, his vocal mistakes and his isolation helped set up a poor start to his Stoke move, which ended after a drink-driving charge led to his contract being terminated by the club.

Saido Berahino shows a rare turn of pace to leave the pitch after Stoke's humiliating FA Cup exit at Coventry
Saido Berahino shows a rare turn of pace to leave the pitch after Stoke’s humiliating FA Cup exit at Coventry

LMA critical

The English Football League has been criticised over its plan to finish the current season.

Stoke City and their EFL counterparts were sent a letter this week which outlines proposals on how to complete the 2019-20 campaign this summer.

The EFL believes it can finish the seasons in Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two in 56 days once it is safe to resume after the coronavirus pandemic halted the campaign last month.

But League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan has hit out at the EFL for failing to talk to his members.





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