PETER CROUCH says that he and his teammates will be fighting tooth and nail over the final ten games of the campaign . . . to ensure that the Club continues to make progression on the field.
The Potters have comfortably sustained their spot in the top-flight over the past four seasons, having finished in mid-table positions, however, a top half finish has yet to be achieved.
The England striker admits that breaking into the top-ten is the ambition of both the players and management, but insists performances and results have to improve if that is to be reached.
“The fans are frustrated at the moment of course they are, but so are the lads, if not even more so,” he told Stoke City Player at the launch of the Co-operative Football Roadshow today.
“It’s not nice to go into training on a Monday morning having just lost a match at home. We want to address that, and we have to make sure we give absolutely everything over the remaining fixtures and make sure we have a positive end.
“We should have more points on the board, but it is far from doom and gloom here. We are eleventh in the Premier League and I am still convinced that we can finish in the top half and have enjoyed a really good season.”
He added: “The manager is very keen to finish in the top ten, just as we all are. It would be a great achievement for us and it would show that we are moving in the right direction.”
Having slipped to successive defeats in the Premier League against Fulham and West Ham United, the Potters travel to the North East this weekend to take on a resurgent Newcastle United side.
Whilst acknowledging that Alan Pardew’s side are now arguably a more formidable outfit than they were prior to the January transfer window, Crouch remains optimistic of getting back to winning ways at St James’ Park.
“It will be a difficult game, but we want to bounce back as soon as possible, obviously,” he said.
“We’ve had some good games this season, but we have had some indifferent games too, and we need to bounce back from the disappointment of the weekend when we go to Newcastle.
“They have lost one or two good players, but at the same time they have replaced them with great quality.
“The atmosphere will be good up there for certain, just as it always, but there is no reason why we can’t go up there and win the game.
“The lads are angry and desperate to bounce back from the defeat against West Ham at the weekend.”
The 32-year-old has endured something of a stop-start campaign after suffering a nasty collision with Newcastle’s Fabricio Coloccini earlier in the season.
He admits to being over that setback now however, and is eager to recapture the form which secured him the Club’s Player of the Year accolade last term.
“I broke my nose at Liverpool and had that fixed, now I’ve broken my teeth here and they are fixed. If nothing else, I’m certainly better looking now,” he joked.
“It took a while to recover from the mouth problems, I have to be honest. Playing with a mouth-guard was okay, but it wasn’t ideal.
“Thankfully, I didn’t have to wear it at the weekend, and I came through the game okay, which is good news for me.
“I’m over that setback now, and hopefully I can get back to scoring goals and putting in good performances on the pitch for the Club.”