Mark Hughes still in charge for the Coventry game…

Mark Hughes will be in charge for the FA Cup 3rd round tie against Coventry City (who must fancy a cup upset given the current unrest at Stoke) according to SSN.

The local Stoke paper backs this story up as well –

From ‘The Sentinel’ website –

‘Sources at the bet365 Stadium suggest Mark Hughes has earned a stay of execution and will take charge of Stoke’s FA Cup tie at Coventry City this weekend. But rather than being a vote of confidence in their manager, it appears the club are merely biding their time while they look at alternatives to the Welshman.’

A weird state of affairs as even if Hughes engineers a cup win on Saturday he could be dismissed, more than likely after our next game away at Man Utd. The trouble is by delaying any managerial change or backing Hughes, we are losing momentum in stabilizing the team and adding much needed new players. Indeed West Ham have rumoured to bid £15m for one of our few in form players Joe Allen. If he left we’d be unlikely to sign a decent replacement. They are welcome to Glenn Johnson though who they were after in the summer.

The Stoke board need to either back Hughes so he can *gulp* sign his transfer targets or get a new managerial team in ASAP and get cracking in the transfer market. January is rarely a time for bargains and you often get overpriced players (or flops in our case – Imbula and Berahino both signed in January). Either way, Peter Coates and co. need to get off the fence and either back him or sack him.

Ireland new contract, Johnson off?

Stephen Ireland is set to sign a six month contract taking him to the end of the season. It is believed to be on reduced terms and follows on from his current six month deal which expires in January.

Berahino has apparently met with the Stoke board to discuss his future who have told him he won’t be offered out on loan in January. He has yet to score for us in the league since signing in January. Glen Johnson looks set to leave in January despite signing a one year contract extension in the summer.

West Ham at home this Saturday and if we lose could it be Hughes’s last game in charge? Looks as though both Hughes and Coates don’t see any need to panic, however a loss on Saturday and if the crowd turns then it could be taxi for Hughes after the game…

Arnie, Whelan off and Tonge up the Vale!

Marko Arnautovic looks set to complete his £24m move the West Ham either today or tomorrow. A great player for us on his day, although you do wonder if his off field moods upset the dressing room karma. He’s moving purely for money though as West Ham are hardly Real Madrid, one of a few clubs he’d said he would only ever leave Stoke for.

Also packing his bags is Glen Whelan who has joined Aston Villa in a deal worth up to £2m, with an initial fee of £1.25m. One of the players who helped us gain promotion to the Premiership and he has been a regular since he joined in 2008, making 338 league and cup appearances for Stoke. One of the better players I have seen at Stoke in recent years and wishing him well at Villa.

Imbula looks set to leave before the new season starts with Torino the latest club to express interest in signing him.

Question is how much of the incoming transfer fees will Mark Hughes be given to spend? Various reports are linking us with Man City’s Fabian Delph in a £10m deal, not a loan as originally thought.

Chelsea defender Kurt Zuoma is all but signed on a season long loan and has even been photographed in Stoke kit! The delay in announcing this deal is thought to be whilst he agrees a new contract at Chelsea.

Bruno Martins Indi could still be a Stoke player, although Porto are playing silly buggers it seems and Crystal Palace are interested in signing him as well.

Man Utd’s Ashley Young has also been heavily linked with a move to Stoke.

Former Stoke player Michael Tonge is currently a trialist at Port Vale. He was at Stoke for five years between 2008 and 2013, where he spent more time on loan than at Stoke. Never really made an impact and not one of Tony Pulis’s better signings. After two seasons at Stevenage he is after a new club and if he joins the Vale he will link up with fellow former Stoke player Danny Pugh.

Marko Arnautovic hands in transfer request

Marko Arnautovic has handed in a transfer request after Stoke City rejected a £15m West Ham bid. Arnie was injured in last night’s friendly and a cynic could argue that was planned to avoid a serious injury whilst a transfer deal is done! His brother is his agent and he has been on social media today alleging that Stoke are holding up a deal.

Stoke beat Neuchatel Xamax 1-0 thanks to an own goal in the first match of the Uhrencup.

Odemwingie to West Ham?

After having an unsuccessful trial at Hull City, scuppered by manager Steve Bruce quitting, Peter Odenwingie is possibly having a trial with West Ham with a view to a permanent move.

Stoke lost 1-0 to Hamburg in our final pre-season friendly, whilst the under-23 squad beat Rhyl 6-0 including a hat trick from Jon Walters. Walters played alongside Marc Wilson as the under-23 squad are allowed to field three players over 23 years old. Wilson could be on his way out of the club, especially after recent comments on Twitter over the weekend questioning Stoke’s defensive training.

Opening fixture of the new season is…Liverpool!

You couldn’t make it up as we start the 2016/17 Premier League season against Liverpool at home. Just in case you have forgotten we beat them 6-1 at home at the end of last season J Our first away fixture is Tottenham who we beat away in the same fixture last season. Our final away game is Crystal Palace and we finish the season with a home game against West Ham.

Opening day fixtures see Premiership newboys Bournemouth home to Aston Villa, their fans will like that one; Watford face a tricky trip to Everton and Norwich host Crystal Palace, not an easy fixture given how well Palace have done since Alan Pardew took over.

Farewell Palacios!

Stoke City have announced their retained list and the the first team players leaving are Thomas Sorensen, Wilson Palacios and Andy Wilkinson. Andy Wilkinson has been at the club since 2001, one of our longest serving players of recent times.

Peter Odemwingie is retained by the club although a new contract has yet to be announced. He has been injured for much of the season, although hopefully he will be offered at least a one year contract.

Transfer rumours are linking us with all sorts of players including Barcelona’s Dutch international Ibrahim Afellay and Konoplianka.

Outgoing looks as though Robert Huth will complete a £3m transfer to Leicester City possibly next week. Peter Crouch is being linked with West Brom and former Stoke boss Tony Pulis. That could well happen, although long term Pulis target Carlton Cole has just been released by West Ham.