Stoke City injury latest as boss clears pathway


Stoke City will head down to Bournemouth for the final game of a difficult season without two team’s worth of players.

There is a full 11 who are currently out injured, on top of a few walking wounded, including many who would be expected to play a key role if they were fit.

Nick Powell joined the queue for the treatment room when he limped out of last weekend’s defeat to QPR with a groin problem.

There is another 13 who are currently out on loan. That includes development deals for Joe Bursik, who has helped Peterborough win promotion; Lasse Sorensen, who has been with MK Dons, and Tom Edwards, who is just getting going at New York Red Bulls.

The other 10, who cost about £80m in transfer fees all in, are tasked with finding new permanent homes before next season kicks off.

You can read the full report here.

Michael O’Neill on changing room he inherited, Stoke City’s brightest prospects and playing with Gazza

Michael O’Neill recalls a changing room of disillusioned players which can harbour negativity as he looks back on the changes he’s made at Stoke City.

O’Neill has been disappointed and frustrated by the second half of his first full season in charge at Stoke, falling out of top six contention and deep into mid-table.

But he is encouraged by the emergence of young talent, including player of the season contender Harry Souttar, and he has high long-term hopes for a flurry of further academy graduates who have made it to the first team fringes in recent weeks.

He is sure that key to that has been evolving the squad dynamic and adding solid experienced pros including John Obi Mikel, Steven Fletcher and James Chester to Joe Allen, Danny Batth and departing captain Ryan Shawcross.


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At the same time, 12 players with first team experience have left for good and another 10 – who cost the club about £80m in transfer fees – are out on loan, with hopes that the club can find them new homes over the summer.

“The dressing room when I came to the club was difficult,” he said. “It wasn’t a particularly good place for a young player to be in. There were a lot of disillusioned players and there can be a lot of negativity in a dressing room like that.

“It was really important for us to bring in Fletcher, Chester, Obi Mikel in particular and to add to the good senior players we had in the building, Shawcross, Allen, Danny Batth…

“I think that’s why so many younger players have done well this season, that they’ve been able to come through. It’s very, very important that you have the right dressing room for young players to step into, that standards are high and discipline is good and they feel that those older players are looking out for them as well.”

Read the full story here.

Playing with Gazza?

Yes!



Michael O’Neill celebrates with Paul Gascoigne during his time at Newcastle United.

Fancy dress and kidnap – Lou Macari explains full story behind hiring Neil Baldwin

Lou Macari has photographic proof about the loyalty of his old unique Stoke City kit man Neil Baldwin.

Macari’s friendship with Baldwin, AKA Nello the circus clown, at Stoke in the early 1990s was immortalised in the BBC’s Bafta-winning Marvellous.

It started with the idea of providing a comic relief against the hard work that Macari demanded and took on a life of its own as Stoke went on to win promotion and the Division Two title before reaching the play-offs and cusp of the Premier League.

Macari clearly enjoys retelling the story to former Stoke striker Jon Parkin in the latest edition of the popular Undr The Cosh podcast – including details about an infamous match day ‘kidnapping’ of ex-Radio Stoke and Signal presenter George Andrews.

Read the full story here



The bet365 Stadium will host pre-season dinner

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Stoke City boss weighs up first full season at the wheel

Michael O’Neill can see positives among the frustrations of his first full season at Stoke City as he looks for the key to improve next time.

Stoke are heading into what should hopefully be their final game – and final game behind closed doors – of a condensed campaign of two halves.

They were nudging elbows at the top of the table on their way to reaching the Carabao Cup quarter-finals before Christmas but a dreadful run of injuries has seen the side slip slowly down the table and they are on a six-match winless run ahead of the finale at Bournemouth on Saturday.

The injury list calculator has players missing more than 200 matches over the last seven months, with only Harry Souttar and Danny Batth largely unaffected, even if one had to spend time in self isolation due to Covid and the other needed internal stitches on a deep-to-the-bone head wound.

Stoke’s priority in the transfer window is to lower the numbers of players who have no future at the club except for in their contracts – but there is also a need to bring in fresh quality and improve the squad O’Neill already has in place.

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