Stoke City: Let's make a point against Chelsea, urges top man Peter Coates
CHAIRMAN Peter Coates is hoping Stoke City finally end a painful hoodoo tomorrow by returning unbeaten from one of the "big four" for the first time in the Premier League.
Stoke travel to Stamford Bridge tomorrow (3pm) having lost all 16 of their previous Premier League games at Champions League qualifiers Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United.
They head south without Andy Wilkinson, however, after Stoke decided not to appeal against his three-match ban for violent conduct after raising an arm to the face of Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli last weekend.
Coates says of Stoke's poor "big four" record: "It would be great if we could crack that one. We haven't as yet and we are conscious of that.
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"Mind you, when you look at the home record of those four clubs, we are not alone.
"And we have had one or two good games against Chelsea. I particularly remember the first game there in the Premier League when we were leading and then lost to two late goals.
"It will be an interesting challenge for us now we have got some new players."
Coates welcomes the recent arrival of midfield duo Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi to help change Stoke's style, but he denies placing any pressure on manager Tony Pulis.
"We are using the ball more and keeping the ball better – it's part of an evolution," he said.
"It's great credit to the manager for bringing these players in. Tony has full control of all football matters and he doesn't get any interference from me or anybody else at the club.
"What is happening is the way he wants to go. I'm pleased about it, yes, but it's all down to him.
"We have been making incremental steps and I think people recognise that now.
"We are more than just long throws and long clearances, and I think people have woken up to that with the kind of players we have now got here.
"I'm sure our fans feel the same way. First and foremost we must keep our Premier League status, but part of our job is also to win and win well. There are a lot of different styles out there and there is room for them all in the League."
Coates, pictured left, also admits to being excited by the acquisition of England striker Michael Owen as he prepares for another place on the bench tomorrow.
"He's a famous England footballer with a distinguished career in the game, so it's great to see him at Stoke City," he added.
"We are pleased to have him around because of who he is and what he has done.
"Hopefully, he can play a part for us and have an impact."
American Geoff Cameron is expected to step in at right-back at Stamford Bridge as Wilkinson prepares to miss the games against Chelsea, Swansea and Liverpool.