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Vokes starts: Jones should play this Stoke XI v Derby tomorrow

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We are approaching that stage of the season where fans of sides like Stoke City will be keen to see the campaign.

It has been a torrid season. Gary Rowett looked to have assembled a brilliant squad back in the summer but failed to get them playing anywhere near their potential.

By the time Nathan Jones had replaced him in the summer, it was far too little too late and the Potters were destined for a mid-table finish at best.

But Jones will not be giving up on these final games and will be eager to build momentum and get as good a look at his squad as possible, starting with this weekend’s match with Derby County.

They will have to do without the versatile Sam Clucas, so here is the XI that Jones SHOULD be playing against the Rams.

Goalkeeper: Jack Butland

Stoke need to make the most of him whilst they can.

It would be a big surprise if he were to remain at the Bet365 Stadium next season and not make the step up to the top-flight.

Right-back: Tom Edwards

A rare bright spot from this season.

Edwards’ progression at right-back this season has been clear for all to see and Jones will undoubtedly see him as a long-term option at the club.

Centre-back: Ryan Shawcross

The chances of losing Shawcross this summer are slim.

Therefore, keeping him in the starting line-up makes sense and keeping him as a central member of the squad is what Jones should be doing.

Centre-back: Danny Batth

Having splashed out on the Wolves man in the January window it would be wise for Jones to continue to implement him.

Building a rigid defensive pairing could be crucial to any success next season.

Left-back: Moritz Bauer

It is not his favoured position, but Bauer’s mobility will be important against the Rams attack.

Martins Indi did a decent job their last week, but this would be the more sensible move for this match.

”Defensive-midfield:

One of the better summer recruits.

He has not had the best season but has shown real signs of becoming the player who can make the Potters midfield tick.

Defensive-midfield: Joe Allen

It would be foolish not to play somebody of Allen’s calibre.

The Welshman is comfortably one of the division’s best midfielders and will still have a role to play next season.

Right-wing: Tom Ince

Ince has largely been let down by his teammates this season.

Yes, he could have done more himself, but he remains the player who looks most likely to make things happen.

Attacking-midfield: Bojan

Jones has said in the past that he wants to make the Spaniard a bigger focal point in the side and there is no better time to start.

He is a fan favourite and it would be a smart move to play him.

Left-wing: James McClean

A disappointing season for the Irishman, but he will be keen to build momentum for next season.

He can be a really useful asset at this level and it will be up to Jones to get the best out of him and boost his confidence.

Striker: Sam Vokes

He limped out of the action against Aston Villa a few weeks ago but should be available for this weekend.

Vokes has the poteantial to be one of the Championship’s most effective strikers so it would be mad for Jones to use anybody else.

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