STEVE SIDWELL today spoke of his excitement at the prospect of working with Mark Hughes for the second time in his career.
The talented midfielder has agreed to join Stoke City on a two-year deal when his current contract with Fulham expires on July 1.
He is the Club's second signing of the summer following the capture of Phil Bardsley from Sunderland and disappointed a host of other clubs by committing to a move to the Britannia Stadium.
Sidwell, who was an ever-present for Fulham in the Premier League last season, told www.stokecityfc.com: "There were two factors behind my decision to join Stoke – the first being the fact that it's a club that is really moving forward.
"I was really impressed with the football Stoke played last season; the way they played against Fulham on the penultimate weekend of the season really had a wow factor about it and it led to a first ever top 10 finish in the Premier League.
"Then there's the manager because he’s a man that I have the highest regard for. He signed me for Fulham and I really enjoyed the time I worked with him there.
"I like the way he asks his teams to play and his training sessions are good, which makes coming into work on a daily basis really enjoyable.
"I'm really looking forward to the start of pre-season. I've had a holiday and feel really refreshed and ready for an exciting new phase of my career."
Sidwell, who has served Arsenal, Reading, Chelsea and Aston Villa, scored eight times from midfield last season but was unable to prevent Fulham tumbling through the relegation trapdoor.
He added: "Relegation was difficult to swallow, especially the way we went down. We were, of course, relegated at the Britannia Stadium on a day when we didn't really give it a go. We rolled over.
"I had three-and-a-half years at Fulham and it's disappointing that my time with them ended on such a sour note with relegation but joining Stoke is a new chapter and I'm really looking forward to the future."