Stoke City: Tony Pulis threatens axe ahead of QPR clash
RECORD-breaking Jon Walters is among a handful of Stoke players fearing for their places ahead of Saturday's clash with QPR.
Walters, together with the likes of Michael Kightly and Dean Whitehead, are all under the spotlight as boss Tony Pulis considers freshening up his starting line-up.
The omission of Walters, main picture, would end a remarkable sequence of appearances for the Ireland international.
Walters has started every Premier League game for Stoke since February 5, 2011 – a run of 61 games and a current top-flight record for outfield players.
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But he has some way to go to break Frank Lampard's all-time record of 164 successive starts for an outfield player.
Assistant manager Dave Kemp, pictured, admits there is hot competition for places as the likes of Matthew Etherington, Kenwyne Jones and Glenn Whelan lie in wait on the bench.
"It's only been this season that we have consistently picked the same team," said Kemp, "and that's because we have been playing quite well, especially away from home.
"There is always competition for places, but we don't want to reshuffle everything because not everything is wrong."
He said scoring goals was the obvious failing to rectify after back-to-back blanks against Sunderland and Norwich.
"We are playing well enough to win games because we are creating the chances and having the possession, but the bottom line is that we're not putting the ball in the back of the net," added Kemp.
"That's not just the forwards, that's everybody.
"We are not winning as many corners as we used to either, so we are not putting teams consistently under the kind of pressure you need to score goals."
But he stressed that fortunes can change quickly, particularly with a touch of luck.
"Football is a strange game," he added. "I watched Norwich play twice last week and despite being second best in both games, they won both."
Kemp checked out QPR ahead of Saturday's visit to the Britannia by watching their 1-1 draw against Reading on Sunday.
That leaves Rangers still seeking a first league win since beating Stoke at Loftus Road in the penultimate fixture last season.
"They are not a bad team, they are just struggling to get a win," Kemp reported.
"I'm sure if they get one win they can be up and running."
Michael Owen remains under treatment for the slight hamstring injury that prevented him travelling to Norwich at the weekend.