Stoke City will be looking to pick up from where they left off after a short international break, as the Potters prepare to take on Fulham at the bet365 Stadium this weekend.
Nathan Jones’ side finally picked up their first win of the season last weekend, defeating Swansea City by two goals to one at the Liberty Stadium to take the pressure off the Welshman for the time being.
This Saturday, Stoke will be looking to defeat yet another high-flyer in Fulham, who currently occupy seventh spot in the Sky Bet Championship table.
Jones’ future at the bet365 is still far from certain, and if he does remain in charge of the Potters come January time, then you would expect him to make changes to his side regardless of their league position.
Of course, if he is to bring players in, then some would have to leave first, therefore some players who will be fearing for their future need to seriously step up their game.
Here, we take a look at three players who need to impress between now and January…
Davies arrived at Stoke with a big reputation in the summer, after playing an influential role in helping Barnsley win automatic promotion from League One last season.
But the 27-year-old is yet to make a single appearance for Stoke since arriving from Oakwell on a free transfer, failing to get into the team ahead of Jack Butland.
Butland has been dropped from the starting line-up on a couple of occasions this season, but even then, Adam Federici has stepped up to the plate and started ahead of the Welshman.
Davies needs to up his game sooner rather than later.
Another summer signing who has flattered to deceive at Stoke so far is Jordan Cousins.
The 25-year-old arrived on a free transfer from Queens Park Rangers in the summer, but hasn’t made an appearance for Jones’ side since their 3-0 home defeat to Leeds United in August.
After putting in a disappointing performance against Crawley Town in the Carabao Cup too, Cousins has been left to rot on the sidelines in recent weeks.
With Peter Etebo and Badou N’Diaye starting to establish themselves as Jones’ preferred holding midfield pairing, time is running out for Cousins to impress.
Woods arrived at Stoke from Brentford under Gary Rowett last season, signing from Griffin Park for a reported fee of around £6.5m
But after a disappointing campaign last time out, the 25-year-old has continued to leave a lot to be desired, and he hasn’t started in the league since their 3-1 away defeat at Preston North End in August.
He is a quality Championship player on his day, but for whatever reason, he just hasn’t been able to make an impact at the bet365 under two different managers.
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