Stoke City face Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion tonight as the Potters look to move further away from the relegation zone.
With Stoke not in action until Monday night, it was interesting to observe how some of their rivals got on over the weekend. In general the results were kind to Michael O’Neill’s men, with Barnsley, Wigan Athletic and Luton Town all suffering defeats, which means a win tonight will see Stoke go four points clear of the relegation zone.
However, a win at The Hawthorns is easier said than done with West Brom having lost just once at home since the start of the season. From 13 games they have only won six times though and Stoke should go into the match with some confidence given their recent defensive performances.
In the week since Stoke last played the O’Neill revolution has begun to take shape, with Ryan Woods sent out on loan to Milwall and winger Jordan Thompson brought in from Blackpool. Thompson has worked with O’Neill at international level before and given Stoke’s lack of width so far this season, he should turn out to be a useful addition.
Other areas Stoke could do with strengthening remain dependent on future incomings and outgoings, but a move for a new left-back and striker will likely be the priority. The Potters have resorted to using Bruno Martind-Indi on the left side of defence of late, and while he has defended well he doesn’t offer much going the other way.
Meanwhile, the potential departures of Tyrese Campbell and Scott Hogan makes the recruitment of a new centre forward essential. No Stoke striker has managed more than four goals in the Championship this season so far and goal scoring is becoming an increasingly obvious issue.