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Football Manager 2016 Team Guide: Stoke City

Stoke are a far cry from the side that many remember. Pulis’ long throws and brutish football is a distant memory at the Britannia now and Liam Lawrence has been swapped for Xherdan Shaqiri.

The fundamental changes to the club have seen them go to the next level and you should be able to push for a top 8 finish with the current squad.

What you start with…

Training facilities are good enough to keep the players happy and the board will give you around £5million if you promise to meet their minimum expectations.

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What’s expected…

Premier League: A top half finish, as with a lot of clubs, is the main aim. The Potters would love to see you make it in to Europe given the quality of their midfield, but we think you should stick with a top half finish.

FA Cup: If you get a particularly horrible draw, the board should be understanding if you get knocked out, but don’t take it for granted. A quarter final berth is easily achievable and a trip to Wembley would be a treat for the fans.

Capital One Cup: Simply, don’t get embarrassed. Give the youngsters a run out, let Charlie Adam kick some people up in the air and try and scrape through a few rounds by using it to rest players.

Three to buy…

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Scott Dann – Ryan Shawcross is out with injury for the first couple of months of your season and Scott Dann looks like he is a tailor made replacement. The Palace man will take up a significant chunk of your budget, so it would be understandable if you opted for a Wollscheid-Muniesa partnership to get you by until Shawcross returns.

Emmanuel Adebayor – If you still have the old squads, Adebayor is available on a free transfer and the troublesome ex-Arsenal man could be worth the gamble. Miram Diouf is inconsistent and Adebayor could just hit it off with the creative flair of the magic three behind him.

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Adam Maher – We hope that you weren’t considering starting Charlie Adam. If you were, then don’t. If you weren’t then you were probably looking for a new central midfield man and we suggest Maher as the man to fill that void. Whelan is going to need replacing at some point, but Maher could work alongside him for your first season whilst you wait for Imbula or another defensive midfielder to become available.

Three to sell…

Charlie Adam – Aside from being a red card liability, Adam does not have the fitness to keep up with the style of play that this Stoke side wants to play. Van Ginkel, Afellay and Cameron can all provide better midfield performances, too.

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Peter Crouch – Walters, Joselu and Diouf are all ahead of Crouch in pecking order and the lanky centre forward doesn’t quite fit in as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 system these days.

Peter Odemwingie – Although Stoke aren’t blessed with depth out wide, Odemwingie’s wages need to be taken out of the financial equation to help you with other deals in your first window. The ex-West Brom man is unlikely to get many minutes with the other options and his injury record doesn’t make him a reliable backup.

Youngsters..

Oliver Shenton –  A loan is probably the best option for Shenton at the start of your save, but he will probably develop well even if he is left to play in the U21s.

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Jack Butland –  Selling Begovic is looking like a stroke of genius by the Potters at the moment and Jack Butland is proving himself to be a brilliant keeper. The youngster is putting pressure on Joe Hart ahead of Euro 16 and he will easily be in the squad on FM as well.

Julien Ngoy – Ngoy is only 17 when you start your save and can become quite a fearsome finisher within a couple of seasons of your save. The forward is incredibly fast, but will need an intelligent coach to get him learning the best moves.

Article title: Football Manager 2016 Team Guide: Stoke City

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