Injuries again risk derailing Stoke's flying start - Interview
Thursday, 2nd Dec 2021 16:03 by Clive Whittingham
Serious injuries to a host of key players blew Stoke's 2020/21 up around this time last year, and as Harvey Todd from Six Towns Sport tells us it's at risk of happening all over again with Nick Powell and Harry Souttar among the crocks this time.
How's the season gone so far?
Started incredibly, we were playing some great football. Recently the squad has been really stretched through suspensions and injuries which has seen Josh Tymon (our primary left wing back) playing in midfield.
Stoke league results thus far…
How's Michael O'Neill done?
How was the summer business? What needs doing in January? Any early rumours?
Some signings have done better than others, but the best one was Mario Vrancic on a free - signing of the season. I tend to ignore January rumours around this time of year, but John Souttar from Hearts (older brother of Harry) is the only one that’ve seen floating around.
Ins >>> Sam Surridge, 23, ST, Bournemouth, £2.6m >>> Ben Wilmot, 21, CB, Watford, £1.9m >>> Mario Vrancic, 32, CM, Norwich, Free >>> Jack Bonham, 27, GK, Gillingham, Free >>> Abdallah Sima, 20, RW, Brighton, Loan Leo Ostigard, 21, CB, Brighton, Loan >>> Romaine Sawyers, 29, CM, West Brom, Loan
Outs >>> Nathan Collins, 20, CB, Burnley, £12.6m >>> Bruno Martins Indi, 29, CB, AZ Alkmaar, Undisclosed >>> Liam Lindsay, 25, CB, Preston, Undisclosed >>> Lasse Sorensen, 21, CM, Lincoln, Undisclosed >>> Badou Ndiaye, 29, CM, Aris Saloniki, Undisclosed >>> Kevin Wimmer, 28, CB, Rapid Vienna, Free >>> Jordan Cousins, 27, CM, Wigan, Free >>> Ryan Woods, 27, CM, Birmingham, Free >>> Moritz Bauer, 29, RB, UFA (Russia), Free >>> John Obi Mikel, 34, CM, Kuwait SC, Free >>> Sam Vokes, 31, CF, Wycombe, Free >>> Benik Afobe, 28, CF, Millwall, Loan >>> Peter Etebo, 25, CM, Watford, Loan >>> Blondy Nna Noukeu, 19, GK, Crawley, Loan
Best players and weak links in the team?
Revised expectations for the season?
I think playoffs is still achievable, every team has a bumpy patch and we’re going through ours. Once Tyrese Campbell hits form, Powell returns and a handful of additions in January I think it all looks up.
The Twitter @loftforwords, @HarveySCFC_
Pictures – Action Images
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When Saturday Comes #23 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and the U’s have a new management team in charge for a tough trip to Salford. Football is a results business, and sadly Hayden Mullins and his assistant Alex Dyer couldn’t deliver those results on the pitch. Yes they’ve had some tough breaks when luck and competent officials have just completely deserted them, but bottom line is we haven’t been good enough, and it was the right call by Robbie Cowling to no doubt reluctantly let them go after seven defeats in the last eight games, our solitary point a dour 0-0 at Bradford City.
When Saturday Comes #22 by wessex_exile
It’s the 15th of January, and still the U’s are attempting to play their first home match of 2022. Weather looks good (check), players have returned from injury (check), no on-day Covid testing to get in the way (check), so barring fire famine or flood, I reckon we must have at least a 50:50 chance of a game at the JobServe this afternoon. Whether it’ll be three much-needed points or not, and if you’ll pardon the pun, I at least did see green shoots at the New Lawn on Tuesday. We still lost, and the table doesn’t lie, but definitely signs to encourage me that whilst it’s not going to be a comfortable journey, we’ll be alright by May.
When Saturday Comes #21 by wessex_exile
Here we are then, what should have been the first home game of 2022, and I discover seconds before posting this that the game is called off because of a waterlogged pitch. Having gone to the trouble of writing this, even though we’re not playing I’m going to post it anyway – it’s not like you’ve got anything else to do this afternoon.
When Saturday Comes #20 by wessex_exile
Finally, When Saturday Comes…and the U’s (for now at least) have a match to play. Mind you, I’m writing this on Friday afternoon, so there’s still time yet for yet another Covid/ injury postponement, I guess. I certainly hope not, as I’m planning on heading over to Crawley for this one. Mind you, now that the EFL have decreed there will be no on the day testing to eliminate the possibility of last-minute cancellations, I think I’ll defer buying a train ticket until this evening. Needless to say, a repeat of our last visit to Broadfield (The People’s Pension Stadium under the terms of a sponsorship deal) would do very nicely indeed.
When Saturday Comes #19 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes…and the U’s find themselves fixtureless again, following Hartlepool’s request to postpone the game because of positive Covid tests amongst their squad. To heap further fixture congestion problems on the U’s, in short order Forest Green Rovers did likewise for our already rearranged match at the New Lawn on Tuesday night, and for the same reason. They’re not on their own either, with in all (so far) four Premier League and 19 EFL matches postponed today – all for positive Covid tests in their squads.
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