Stoke City will have a chance to assess their current situation during the international break, with the Potters having had a solid enough season in which there have been clear signs of progression.
Michael O’Neill’s side are currently sat in 11th place in the Championship table, but with just eight games remaining for them it seems like it would be too much to pull back the gap of ten points to the play-off places.
That means that Stoke will just be trying to play for as high a finish inside the top-half of the league as possible and try and end strongly to build confidence.
It is going to be a crucial summer period for the Potters, with O’Neill needing to add extra quality to the side to give them the ability to edge some of the tight games they have not been able to win this term.
While it will also be important that the club manage to keep hold of as many of their most important performers as possible. Although there will be a few who they would like to move on.
With that in mind, we take a look at TWO Stoke players who will likely be eyeing an exit in the summer…
One player who will surely be eyeing a permanent exit from the Bet365 Stadium this summer is Tom Ince. The winger found himself far down the pecking order during the first half of the campaign and was limited to just seven appearances in the Championship for the Potters and just two of those came from the start of matches (Sofascore).
The 29-year-old was sent out on loan by the Potters in January to Championship rivals Luton Town. Ince has managed to make six appearances for the Hatters so far in the league, but he was hooked at halftime in their recent 3-2 win against struggling Sheffield Wednesday (Sofascore). He did come off the bench during their 1-0 win at Preston North End last time out.
Ince still has another year remaining on his current deal, but having arrived for around £10 million from Huddersfield Town in the summer of 2018, it looks like his future is now away from the club. The attacker recently spoke out about his potential future and suggested that he will be see what his options are when the summer transfer window opens.
Another Stoke player who, like Ince, might well be eyeing up a potential exit from the Bet365 Stadium in the summer is defender Liam Lindsay. The 25-year-old has found himself far down the pecking order at Stoke under O’Neill and he failed to make a single appearance for the Potters in the Championship during the first half of the campaign.
That meant that by January there was plenty of speculation surrounding his future, with Rotherham United one team to be linked with a potential move for him.
However, he eventually went on to sign for Preston North End on loan until the end of the campaign. So far, he has managed to make six Championship appearances for the Lilywhites (Sofascore), but Alex Neil who signed him has now left.
Lindsay is unlikely to get himself back into the side ahead of the likes of Harry Souttar, Nathan Collins, James Chester and Danny Batth if they are all still at the club and are all fully fit next term. That suggests he will need to eye up a permanent move to try and get himself some first-team football elsewhere. He has the chance to impress suitors with Preston in the remaining matches.