January is likely to be a busy month for all concerned with Stoke City, as Michael O’Neill prepares to reshape the squad left at his disposal by Nathan Jones.
It has been a catastrophic season for the Potters, and relegation to Sky Bet League One is looking more and more likely as weeks go by.
As we prepare to enter the halfway stage of the campaign, Stoke sit 23rd in the Sky Bet Championship table, two points adrift of safety after a toothless 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough.
Ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday, O’Neill will be desperate to see his side return to winning ways, but the Owls are flying high towards the top of the league standings and a tough test awaits.
With the former Northern Ireland boss reportedly under pressure to slash the club’s hefty £50m wage bill, there are expected to be a host of departures at the bet365 Stadium next month.
Finances may certainly come into O’Neill’s thinking when it comes to deciding who to let go, and getting rid of those faces will be beneficial in allowing him to bring in his own players.
Can you get 13 out of 13 on this Stoke quiz?
Here, then, we take a look at three exits we expect to see at Stoke in the next few weeks…
Etebo currently faces an uncertain future at the bet365 Stadium having found game time hard to come by under O’Neill.
The 24-year-old – who signed for Stoke from Feirense for £6.35m last summer – is yet to feature under the former Northern Ireland chief and hasn’t played since the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in October.
He is a very energetic, tenacious, powerful midfielder who has been a fans’ favourite since walking through the doors at the club, but O’Neill clearly has his favourites, having brought Ryan Woods back into the fold.
Campbell is another player who is yet to make an impact under the new manager, despite scoring a brace for the under-23s against Middlesbrough last week.
The young forward has scored one goal in 16 appearances this season, but is yet to feature under O’Neill with the likes of Sam Vokes and Lee Gregory ahead of him in the pecking order.
This could mean that Stoke sell him next month, rather than let him potentially leave for free at the end of the campaign.
Allen has been a key player for Stoke under both Jones and O’Neill this term, but he is another high-earner who could be set for a move away next month.
The 29-year-old has scored three goals in all competitions this season and has been their most creative player at times, but his performances have been hit and miss for a player of his calibre.
If the Hammers make a formal offer for the midfielder, it could be too much for both the player and the club to turn down if their financial status is to be taken into account.