How do you rate Stokes’s start to the season so far?
It could be worse but I think most supporters would agree we should be doing a bit better. We started off with four draws and I think that was a signal of what was to come for the season – there’s been far too many of them in fairness. I would’ve liked a cup run but we are now out in both cups which is a disappointment.
Tony Pulis dipped into the transfer market in the January. How have these new acquisitions settled in?
Tony didn’t go mad in the January transfer window but I think both signings will be good in the long term. I think it may have come as a surprise that we managed to sign Jack Butland as due to the Olympics there was quite a lot of interest in him. Brek Shea is a young winger from the USA who has been capped internationally and could help with the creativity in our midfield.
Marc Wilson is returning from injury after four months out. How much of a positive is that for Stoke?
Our defence has performed well this season but Marc returning will be an added bonus. I was expecting him to be out for the rest of the season considering he broke his leg!
Earlier in the season Tony Pulis stated the club needed to more of their chances up front. Do you think this has changed?
In a word, no. We aren’t scoring the goals we need to be, plain and simple. I think none of strikers have scored over five goals which isn’t good enough and we need to look at the reasons why. There are issues about the creativity of our midfield, our style of play and our formation but for me it’s the quality of our strikers but I think there is a hint that players like Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome will never be prolific scorers. I really wanted the Owen and Crouch partnership to work even though it had a best before date of 2006.
There have been rumours that Michael Owen will depart in the summer?
Would this be a blow for Stoke? I think most fans wouldn’t be too bothered if Michael left in the summer. I think Tony bought him in with good intentions and it hasn’t worked out. I’d rather him be off our wage bill and that money used to fund another signing in the summer
What area of the squad do you think Stoke should improve in the summer?
know most clubs say this but we really need a proven goalscorer and if it means playing a different formation to accommodate them then so be it. We need someone with a decent goal scoring record who can get in behind defenders and make chances. That is what we’ve been lacking this season and probably for the last few. Jon Walters is a good player on his day but he definitely has his limitations.
With the arrival of Jack Butland in January, there have been rumours abound that Asmir Begovic will move in the summer. Do you think this will happen?
I think the signing was made in the knowledge that Asmir will be off sooner rather than later. If he doesn’t go this summer then he definitely go next season. He’s a great ‘keeper and in Butland I think we’ve found the perfect replacement.
Who should West Ham fans be wary of in the upcoming fixture?
Our goals have come from every position this season so I think you’ve got to be careful of our defenders especially Huth. Other than that Crouch and Jerome can be difficult to play against on their day.
Which West Ham players have stood out for you this season?
I think you did well to keep hold of Diame who looks a real talent. Other than that Andy Carroll needs to score goals but his overall game is good. Winston Reid has impressed me at the back and his partnership with James Collins has looked pretty solid.