Stoke City: Huth a wanted man
STOKE stalwart Rory Delap says the City squad are keeping their fingers crossed Robert Huth will agree a new contract to stay at the Britannia Stadium.
The German defender has yet to sign a replacement for his existing deal, which runs out at the end of next season.
That has raised fears that City will have to sell the 27-year-old rather than risk losing their prize asset on a free transfer next summer.
Huth was named joint players'-player-of-the-year along with Ryan Shawcross at last week's awards night.
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Delap says the centre-half has won the respect of his team-mates, not only through his performances, but also because of his attitude when asked to fill in at right or left-back.
The midfielder added: "The fact he's got the players' player award says a lot about what the lads think about him.
"He has been immense for us since he has been here and has been no different this season.
"He's been asked to play out of position a couple of times too, but he's not a moaner or groaner. He does his job.
"Everyone knows he's more effective in the middle, but sometimes you have to play in different positions.
"But he's great in the dressing room and is a great lad. Hopefully it will all get sorted."
Huth, who cost £6m from Middlesbrough three years ago, was sometimes moved to full-back because City also had Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson competing for places in the centre of defence.
Woodgate is out of contract and, although Upson has another 12 months on his deal, his future isn't certain.
Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua were interested in January, but City wanted a fee for the former England defender.
City might make a profit on Huth if they decided to cash in to raise transfer funds.
However, Tony Pulis would be reluctant to lose a player whose consistent performances also earned him the 2009-10 player-of-the-year award.
Meanwhile, Delap says he's not planning on becoming simply a squad player after agreeing a contract extension to the end of next season.
Pulis would like Delap to eventually take up a coaching role with the club's academy, but the 35-year-old is keen to add plenty more to his 206 Stoke appearances.
He said: "I want to stay fit and push for a place in the side. I wouldn't have signed otherwise.
"I don't want to just become part of the furniture, so I will be pushing for a place next season."