Grassroots Coaching

The FA Cup Final

I am off to the FA Cup Final tomorrow and really looking forward to it. I have only been to the new Wembley once before, to watch my old team Sheffield Utd play Burnley in the play off final a couple of years ago. Unfortunately the Blades didn’t really turn up on the day and were well beaten by Burnley.

My old team mate from Gillingham and the Manager of Bournemouth when I was his assistant Manager, Tony Pulis, sorted me out with a couple of tickets.

I think that Stoke have got an outstanding chance of beating City tomorrow. They have run into a great period of form at the right time. They were outstanding against Arsenal last week and totally destroyed Bolton in the semi final. Their forward players are all really firing. Kenwyne Jones seems to have rediscovered his appetite for the game and is a powerful, quick, goal scoring threat. He will be a real handful for the City backline. Supporting him has been one of Stokes underrated players Jonathon Walters. He has a little bit of everything, he has pace, desire, he is direct and can score goals. He also has a fantastic attitude and works his socks off for the team.

In addition, Jermaine Pennant is finally starting to fulfil his true potential and has bought into Tony’s team ethic and has added a defensive dimension to his game. Mathew Etherington is a class act, has pace, skill, is direct and can score goals. I feel sure that he will have some kind of role in this game and might be the ace in the pack….if he’s fit!

Given Stokes defensive organisation, their ability and organisation from set pieces and their work and team ethic, if Manchester City don’t match their desire, then it could well be Stokes day.

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