MX23RW : Friday, December 14 15:43:26
Nov 3, 2018 at 5.30pm UK at ​Bet365 Stadium (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire)
Attendance: 24,553
StokeStoke City
0-0
Middlesbrough
FT

Stoke boss Gary Rowett in no rush to push for promotion

Stoke boss Gary Rowett in no rush to push for promotion
© Reuters
The Potters continued their recent good form of late with a draw against Middlesbrough.

Stoke manager Gary Rowett has stressed Championship promotion is a marathon and not a sprint after his side’s goalless draw with Middlesbrough.

Last season Rowett was expected to take Derby back to the Premier League, but a post-January slump saw them finish sixth and lose to Fulham in the play-offs.

Slow-starting Stoke took five games to pick up a win and won just two of their opening 10 league games.

But the big-spending Potters have turned a corner of late and are now just five points shy of the play-off spots in a tight Championship table.

Just one defeat in their last seven fixtures and conceding just twice in their last six – including four clean sheets – has given Rowett the belief his side can mount a serious promotion push.

He said: “I’ve had a few seasons where we’ve been right at the top and we’ve tailed off towards the end.

“In that respect it would be nice to have a season where we start a little bit slower and build that momentum as the season goes on.

“The Championship is a long old season and there’s a lot of points to play for.

“I’ve said it before, apart from a couple of games this season I think we’ve been every bit as good, if not better, than a lot of the teams we have played.

“I know we’ve got that type of quality. What we’ve not managed to do is win a lot of the tight games and turn them into points.

“I believe we should have a lot more points than we have on the board at the moment. We’ve created some good opportunities again this evening and if we keep doing the right things then we will do well.”

Stoke’s star-studded front three of Benik Afobe, Tom Ince and Saido Berahino threatened throughout, but the Potters failed to infiltrate the most watertight defence in the Football League, which has conceded just eight league goals this term.

Rowett added: “I think what you find with a Middlesbrough side is they don’t give much away. When they need to block and defend for their lives they manage to do it really well.”

Boro boss Tony Pulis, who spent over a decade at the helm at the Bet365 Stadium, is still unbeaten against his former employers.

Pulis’ dressing room was struck down with a sickness bug in the build-up to the game, and he said: “It hasn’t been good and a couple of players have played today who haven’t been 100 per cent.

“What you’ve seen again is the players give everything for this football club. That’s all you can ask for.

“Everyone has bought into that spirit I want as a manager. They’ve shown it again today and that spirit takes you a long way.

“The conditions were very difficult to start with and both sets of players went about it in the right manner. A little bit of quality and composure in the final third could have won us the match.

“You’re always pleased with a point away from home. I know more than anyone how tough a place this is to come. I actually forgot how windy this place can be!”


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich21134438241443
2Leeds UnitedLeeds21126335181742
3Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd21114634241037
4Derby CountyDerby2111463124737
5West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom21106544301436
6Middlesbrough219932314936
7Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest21810332221034
8Aston Villa218854132932
9Birmingham CityBirmingham217953025530
10Stoke CityStoke217952725230
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn217952731-430
12Swansea CitySwansea218582523229
13Bristol City218582524129
14Queens Park RangersQPR218492531-628
15Preston North EndPreston216783235-325
16Wigan AthleticWigan2174102329-625
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds216692738-1124
18Brentford215793332122
19Hull City2156102130-921
20Rotherham UnitedRotherham214982132-1121
21Millwall2147102635-919
22Reading2146112634-818
23Bolton WanderersBolton2146111529-1418
24Ipswich TownIpswich2118121737-2011

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