Michael O’Neill is keeping an eye on possibilities as transfer window reopens at the end of this week as he tries to bolster Stoke City’s fight for a play-off spot.
Injuries to Tyrese Campbell, who is out for the season, and Morgan Fox, who could be out for up to six weeks with a hamstring problem, have highlighted a couple of areas which may need help or attention.
Business will be tricky in the shadow of the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules but Stoke could find room in their squad and budget with departures – and they are heading towards the New Year sitting well-placed in seventh, five points off second, with plenty of possibilities.
O’Neill said: “You never have enough.
“We still need more. I still think at the top end of the pitch we can look for areas where we can improve. We lost a big player, we’ve coped with a really extensive list of injuries and maintain a good position in the league.
“If we can get through this period, get players back and maybe add something in January, we can continue to challenge for that top six place.”
A 0-0 draw at Coventry means Stoke have only scored once in the four matches since Campbell was injured and O’Neill said: “We need goals to come from within the team. We lost a big threat in our team in Tyrese getting injured.
“The most important thing is that we continue to create chances but it would be nice to see some of those chances go in.”
Joe Allen made his comeback after nine months out from the bench at St Andrew’s while Sam Clucas and John Obi Mikel should also come back into contention for Tuesday night’s home match against Nottingham Forest.
O’Neill said: “Joe just wants to get back playing, he has to continue to build on 30 minutes here.
“We know what he brings to the team. He’s been a big loss for us in the period we’ve not had him.
“It’s almost like a new player for us. We played through the tail end of last season when we had to fight to stay in the league without him, which was difficult. Then obviously we’ve not had him for any of this season.
“He’s going to improve us. You look at some of the players we have in midfield who will come back in and I think that will really strengthen the team.”
The Fox injury saw Stoke change from back four to back three and highlighted the lack of depth at left-back.
“The left-back position has been a problem for the club since before I arrived,” said O’Neill.
“Last season we ended up with Bruno Martins Indi playing there a lot of the time. (Against Coventry) we played with three at the back and James (McClean) at wing-back.
“I think James and Josh Tymon are both more suited to playing as a wing-back rather than full-back.
“That’s the situation we find ourselves in. We compensated for it quite well today with three at the back, who I thought were quite solid as well.
“We’ll just see what happens in January to see if that’s something we need to address.”