Stoke City: Divers are starting to pay price, says assistant boss Dave Kemp
STOKE City's number two Dave Kemp believes the tide is turning against the divers ahead of Sunday's appointment with Liverpool's Luis Suarez.
Chelsea midfielder Oscar and Swansea City defender Ben Davies have both been cautioned for simulation inside the penalty area during Stoke's last two fixtures.
And Kemp believes that is evidence of referees beginning to take a harder line against those branded as cheats by their critics.
He said: "People are now more aware of it and in some cases have had enough of it.
"Those people want the game played properly and realise referees have got a hard enough job without having that to deal with as well.
"Foreign players have brought a lot to our game with their talent, but you have to say that diving wasn't an English trait before they came here."
Suarez's reputation for hitting the ground too quickly for comfort appeared to cost him a legitimate penalty when he went down in the penalty area at Norwich on Saturday.
And ahead of Sunday's clash with Suarez at Anfield, Kemp thinks the Uruguayan's reputation is now costing him.
"It was a blatant penalty at Norwich," he agreed.
"If that had been us, I'd have been very annoyed.
"But maybe he is paying the price for falling over in the past and maybe referees are suspicious every time he goes down now. So it's working against him."
Midfielder Glenn Whelan should be fit for Sunday's trip to Anfield following his substitution against Swansea City on Saturday because of a tweaked hamstring.
"He hasn't trained this week and now they've got a couple of days off," Kemp reported, "so we will assess that one later in the week. But at this stage we don't think it's too serious."
Charlie Adam saw the game out with a shoulder injury, but he trained as normal yesterday and will be in the shake-up against his old club.
Meanwhile, Kemp said there was nothing unusual about Jermaine Pennant's failure to even make the substitutes' bench for Stoke's last three league games.
"There are only so many slots on the bench and we already have one winger there in Matty Etherington," he reasoned.
"If Jermaine was in and somebody else was out, people would then be asking why that person wasn't in.
"The fact is that Michael Kightly has done very well since joining us, while Matty came on and showed a return to his old form on Saturday.
"You've got to be adaptable in the modern game, and now we have enough players to be adaptable."
STOKE under-21s won 1-0 at Southampton in their latest league outing thanks to Jordan Richardson's first-half strike and a late penalty save by Daniel Bachmann.