There is a general feeling that Saturday's match against West Bromwich Albion is finely balanced : Stoke are enjoying an excellent run, and West Brom are also looking good under new manager Tony Mowbray, beating Burnley 3-0 last week.
They have a more than useful squad. Jason Koumas , central to their success, has indicated that he will be staying at the club come January.They have recognised Premiership strikers in Diomansy Kamara (leading goalscorer on 8 this season), Kevin Phillips, and Nathan Ellington.
But then Stoke have some decent players too, are now a very difficult team to beat, especially so with the home fans behind them. Crucially it looks as though Lee Hendrie will still be with us.It has often been the case in the past that a good following shows up for a prime fixture only to leave the Britannia after the match feeling a touch despondent after a disappointing result.
Wisely Tony Pulis has chosen to damp down the level of expectation - as early as last Saturday after the Hull match saying that the Stoke fans needed to be patient.....and ,further,earlier this week, that the upcoming games against the Baggies and then Cardiff would give a clearer picture of where the team is actually at.He clearly feels it is not yet the finished article.
Slightly nervous, but with guarded optimism too, is how I am approaching this game. Stoke can win it......I sincerely hope they do!!