Stoke City legend Mike Pejic believes that the Staffordshire club, along with Middlesbrough, will finish in the Championship’s top six, as jotted down in an article he wrote for Stoke on Trent Live.
The left-back, who featured over 250 times for the Potters between 1968 and 1976, left the Bet 365 Stadium impressed with what he saw from both sides during his former club’s 0-0 draw with Boro.
Stoke are the current occupiers of the much-desired sixth spot in the second-tier standings, with Middlesbrough three places and five points below the Staffordshire club at present.
Penning his thoughts down about the match in an article for Stoke on Trent Live, Pejic said: “There are lots of other tactical issues where you can work your ploys in defending or attacking the opposition. That’s why I find fixtures like that interesting. It works your tactical brain.
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“But I can appreciate that there wasn’t all that much drama to excite the supporters and they’re the ones who pay the money! It was more a game of chess than a shooting match.
“But that’s the time when players improve by listening to their coaches. It was very hard to find space, let alone exploit it. An evenly matched, physically and mentally testing couple of hours between two sides that I think will both end up in the top six.
“Stoke have got a lot to offer. Since O’Neill has taken over we have come to expect a hard-to-beat side with sharp and purposeful passing.”
Fans of both sides should love these comments.
Stoke have been rather unfortunate when it comes to the injury front, with a lot of injuries occurring to key players within the side.
The Potters still possess a talented squad, even when considering the players they have missing at the moment, and should have enough quality to keep on competing in and around the play-off positions.
Middlesbrough have looked very good since Wilder was appointed, and it would be no surprise to see them grow even stronger after the January transfer window.
Both teams will have confidence that they can make the top six but both sides will have to be consistent in the process.