Stoke City out-on-loan rising star hailed as ex-boss lands new gig



Harry Souttar is putting in the kind of performances in League One that must be catching the eye of managers in the Championship – including his own.

The 21-year-old centre-half has helped Fleetwood Town go on a nine-game unbeaten run to land on the verge of the play-offs, although a game in hand will become two this afternoon as their trip to Tranmere Rovers has been postponed.

He has come in for some high praise, with former Sunderland forward Stephen Elliott hailing him as the best he’s seen in that position all season in the division.

Central defence is an interesting department for Stoke – and will be again in the summer regardless of what division the club is heading into next season.

There is Ryan Shawcross hopefully fit and firing again, Nathan Collins coming to the fore, Danny Batth the most regularly-picked defender all campaign, Liam Lindsay who only arrived last July and Bruno Martins Indi, currently deputising at left-back. And Kevin Wimmer.

And there is loanee James Chester too, who is playing for a deal as he nears the end of his contract at Aston Villa. Plenty of decisions to be made and, hopefully, it will be a nice problem to have.

Mark Hughes re-emerges as Premier League pundit

Mark Hughes has kept a low public profile since leaving Southampton in December 2018.

But he has been quietly stepping up his punditry appearances over recent weeks and now he has landed a gig with beIN Sports in Qatar, covering the Premier League.

He reckons that the World Cup will be a hit out in the Middle East too.

Not a bad life, is it.

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Mike Pejic: This is who should play up front at Luton

The Stoke legend has been looking at Michael O’Neill’s selection decisions for this afternoon in this week’s column.

“It sounds like Tyrese Campbell could do with a break and having him as an impact from the bench at Luton is no bad thing if he is given a rest,” he writes.

“I’d go with Lee Gregory in his place because he gives you that `out’ ball better than Sam Vokes because of his ability to get in behind, while his honest work-rate allows him to grind them down for an hour or so.”

Michael O’Neill: I’m already grey, I’m losing sleep but we are doing everything possible to keep Stoke City in Championship

An interesting interview with the manager as he enters into the final 11 games of a season which has been rather too dramatic.

“Every one of the games that lie ahead will be a big game,” he said. “Since I’ve come in, each of the 20 games has seemed like this. We’re getting used to that, we’re getting used to the stress of it as well.

“I’m already grey, I’m losing sleep, there’s no doubt about that, but all we can do is keep working as hard as we’re doing. Everyone at the club is working extremely hard to improve the situation.

“We have to be mindful of the situation when we came in as well and we’re certainly in a better situation than when we arrived. We will continue for the 11 games that remain to do everything possible to retain our status in the Championship.”

13 goals in 13 games for Andre Godfrinne

Mo Sankoh has been earning headlines but his strike partner for Stoke under-18s and 23s has been on fire over the last few weeks.

Godfrinne, aged 17, got the winner in yesterday’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth – his second goal for the under-23s in four days.





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