WILSON PALACIOS will be hoping to feel the benefit of a full pre-season build-up after battling to overcome a knee problem for much of his first season with Stoke City.
The Honduran international signed a four year contract when he completed a transfer deadline day move from Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee in August 2011.
Palacios accompanied club record signing Peter Crouch in making the switch from White Hart Lane to the Britannia Stadium, but it was clear from the outset that he would need time to settle in at his new club as he worked his way back to fitness after knee surgery.
The midfielder sprung to prominence in his home country of Honduras by helping Olimpia to win five League titles back home before deciding that he wanted to try his luck playing in Europe.
Palacios had trials with Red Star Belgrade and Monaco which came to nothing and he also attracted interest from Arsenal, but it was Birmingham City who eventually offered him his big breakthrough in the English game following a recommendation from Arsene Wenger.
It was during a loan spell with Birmingham that their manager Steve Bruce likened the Honduran to a young Paul Ince, but despite that he was not offered a permanent deal.
Bruce, however, retained an interest and when he moved on to take charge of Wigan Athletic, it wasn't long before he offered him the chance to move there in January 2008.
Palacios made such an impact in his early days with the Latics that he was soon being linked with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
His performances in the first half of the 2008/09 season continued to catch the eye and it led to Tottenham paying out a £12,000,000 fee for him in January Transfer Window of 2009, although he was reluctant to move due to the fact that he was settled in the North West.
He went on to play a significant part in Spurs qualifying for the Champions League by pipping Manchester City for fourth place in the Barclays Premier League although the fierce competition for places limited him to just 18 League appearances in the 2010-11 season.