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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Gunning For Goals

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GLENN WHELAN says it's important others follow the goalscoring trend set by fellow midfielder Dean Whitehead... after the latter netted the decisive goal in last weekend's 1-0 Premier League win at West Bromwich Albion.

Whitehead came off the bench and converted Michael Kightly's cross in the 75th minute to secure the Potters' third consecutive win in the top flight, and Whelan believes it would benefit the team if players from all over the pitch, including himself, were able to contribute on a regular basis.

"It takes a little bit of the pressure off the forwards if people are chipping in from everywhere," said the Irish international.

"It's something we've talked about and are trying to work on, so with a little bit of luck whoever's in the team will pop up with a goal, like Dean did at the weekend."

Whelan hasn't found the net for over year since scoring the second goal in City's 3-1 Premier League win over Blackburn Rovers in November last season.

The 28-year-old admits that it's an area of his game that he would like to improve on, but only as long as his efforts going forward don't harm the team's performance as a whole.

"It's something I've always talked about," he added.

"From midfield, you want to be looking to pitch in a little bit and helping out the forward lads, so if I can get a few goals into my game then I'll be doing really well. It's definitely something to look at.

"You're doing different jobs for the team, though, and I think everyone appreciates that."

The former Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday man credits his recent good form to the increased quality of the squad - something that he insists pushes each individual to improve.

"Since the new lads have come in, it's pushed everyone on," he said.

"You know that if you're not playing well, there are lads ready to come in. I think that's helped everyone because the standard for the midfield spots is really high, so it's great competition to have."

A victory against Aston Villa on Saturday would secure four consecutive wins for the Potters for the first time since their return to the top flight, although Whelan realises the challenge Paul Lambert's side will provide despite their lowly league position.

"It's going to be a tough game, even though they're not in a position where they'd want to be," he added.

"They're still a big club and have got some good players. I think with the change of manager and the players that they've lost, it's a transformation for them.

"I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he (Lambert) turns things round, but hopefully it will only happen after Saturday!"

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