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Stoke Right Back To Square One As Kelly Heads To Fulham?

  Many Stoke fans will have been surprised this afternoon by the news that Birmingham right-back Stephen Kelly has joined Fulham on a three year contract for an undisclosed fee. The 25 year old had spent the second half of last season on loan with the Potters and was widely tipped to be Tony Pulis’s first signing of this summer, with the Stoke manager reportedly lining up a £1 million bid for the Irish international. If he was a target for Pulis, as it seems he was, we will now look elsewhere in our bid to strengthen the position, with Andy Wilkinson set to be the only senior right-back in our squad, as club captain Andy Griffin will soon leave the Britannia Stadium.


Kelly – now a Fulham player

  For me, this is mixed news. I’ve always been indifferent to Kelly. He never did much to impress during his six appearances for Stoke, but I believe that he does have the ability to be a useful Premier League player, as we saw from his excellent 2007/08 season at Birmingham, when he was the only outfield player in the league to play every minute of all 38 matches. I’m also a big fan of Wilkinson, and would love to see him cement himself further as our first-choice right-back next season, and with the signing of Kelly now out of the question, it is more likely that he will deservedly retain his place.

  If we are to bring in a right-back, there are also others out there, who are realistic targets that I would far rather tried to bring in. In Pulis’s position I would make put Newcastle’s Habib Beye at the top of my list. After their hilarious relegation, the Magpies will be willing to listen to offers for almost all their players, and signing a player like Beye is definitely no longer beyond our budget or means. He’s also Senegalese, and our links with the country could help to persuade him to the area. Let’s face it, if Abdoulaye Faye told you to move to Stoke, you’d do it.


Our search for a right-back may now be back on

  This promises to be an eventful summer on the transfer front for the Potters, but I think that in the excitemnt that rumours of potential new signings brings it is important that we do not forget Wilkinson. For me, and I know for many others, he was one of the stand-out players of our first Premier League campaign, and has shown that he is very bit the capable top flight player. Some people may be disappointed by lack of signings by the end of August, but if we do not add another right-back by then, meaning Wilkinson will spend another season as first-choice, that can only be a good thing.

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