Glen Johnson has highlighted two Stoke City players who could thrive this season.
The Potters will be aiming for better things this Championship campaign following a disappointing second half of 2021-22 under Michael O’Neill.
The former Northern Ireland manager has been trusted to turn the team’s fortunes around going into the new term.
But the former Stoke defender believes that Tyrese Campbell and Ben Wilmot could be crucial to any improvement in the side.
The former full back is unsure of the club’s chances of fighting for promotion and believes the squad is still two or three players away from being credible contenders.
However, he has enjoyed seeing the progress of this Stoke pair and think they are vital to O’Neill’s squad.
“I’m not sure. It’s a tough league and whoever goes on the best run towards the end,” said Johnson, via Genting Casino.
“I’m not sure they have the tools to do that and I’m not sure they have those two or three players to help them make the step up.
“I’m a big fan of Tyrese Campbell though and he’ll be crucial for Stoke this season. Ben Wilmot also had a good season last year so Stoke will need to keep hold of him.
“He can only work with what he’s got.
“He’s a good manager but the squad isn’t amazing.
“I think if they get the games right and the tactics right then I think he can be good enough to take them up. The attitude of the players will be so important.”
Quiz: Can you identify the 10 fake Stoke City facts?
O’Neill’s side finished 14th in the table last season, some 13 points adrift of the play-off places.
A poor winless run of eight games in February and March without a win significantly hampered the team’s ability to fight for a top six result.
The new season gets underway on July 30, with Stoke set to face Millwall.
Stoke disappointed in how their play-off tilt ended so anticlimactically and with so many weeks to spare.
But there were still some positive signs to be seen from O’Neill’s side.
A good run of form at the very end of the campaign showed what is possible with this squad.
It has been a relatively quiet transfer window from the club so far, and it is likely some signings will be needed before deadline day to inspire confidence that a promotion challenge could be possible this season.