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The key to Stoke City’s promotion push is waiting for them at Norwich City

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It is safe to say that Stoke City’s return to the Championship has not gone as many would have expected.

Having played in the Premier League for a decade, the Potters were named as one of the favourites for an immediate return to the top flight.

Garry Rowett took over in the summer from an outgoing Paul Lambert, tasked with restoring Stoke to England’s elite level of professional football.

As the final international break for 2018 comes into effect, the Potters are 14th in the Championship standings with 21 points, just six above the relegation zone, and the same amount off the play-offs.

It has been a below-par and inconsistent start to the campaign with big-name players not performing to their best as well as the team as a whole struggling to make the transition to the second tier.

With January and the transfer window fast approaching, Stoke will need to spend a little more of their Premier League parachute payments to get a side strong enough to challenge for promotion come the end of the season.

And one player Rowett should earmark as a potential addition to aid their promotion push is Norwich City striker Nelson Oliveira.

The 27-year-old has failed to make a single appearance this term for the Canaries having played 41 times in all competitions last year for Daniel Farke’s men but has since been completely frozen out.

He scored nine times for a Norwich side that finished where Stoke currently reside – in 14th place.

It has been a staggering fall from grace for the ex-Swansea man who has seen his manager lose faith in him and cited attitude problems as a reason for his prolonged absence.

“It’s professional football, and you have to deliver. When someone doesn’t deliver, and they’re not there with 100% attitude I will do without them.” Farke said back in March.

And now could be the time for Rowett to pounce on the forgotten man at Carrow Road.

With Benik Afobe not performing anywhere near the standard that he did while at Wolves last term, and Peter Crouch entering the twilight of his career, a new striker could well be the catalyst to a spike in league position at the Bet 365 Stadium.

And it would undoubtedly give Oliveira a new lease of life.

The Norwich man’s strengths include long shots, dribbling and passing, and that is a triumvirate of attributes that Rowett needs in his current squad.

Nine goals last year and nine the year before that, he has a knack for finding the back of the net, but his overall play would be the overriding positive to a potential move to Stoke.

A reliable target man, but also adept with the ball at his feet and ability to turn and hustle opponents, he is the type of striker defenders do not like to play against.

An uncompromising attacker is what Stoke need – as they look too soft at present and too nice in their attacking third.

You don’t win anything with being nice, they need a roughness about them, a solid core and a never-say-die attitude.

When you look back at players like Ricardo Fuller and Jonathan Walters, two tough forwards who were a nightmare to play against, Oliveira falls into the category.

He would give the Potters an outlet and a presence up top as well as different ways to play be it in the air or on the ground – he can do both.

With a move to Stoke, he will have a point to prove to Farke, Norwich and the rest of the division that he is by no means finished.

He still has a lot to offer, and with the way Rowett wants his Stoke side to play, it could be a match made in heaven for the club and the player.

On paper, it looks like a deal that is a necessity if the Potters want to challenge for a place in the Premier League.

It might not be a signing the fans want, but it is one the team desperately needs and one that could be essential in re-establishing their dwindling promotion hopes.


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: The key to Stoke City’s promotion push is waiting for them at Norwich City

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