Kemp calls for more Stoke goals
Stoke assistant boss Dave Kemp wants the rest of the Potters team to follow the example of Charlie Adam and start chipping in with more goals.
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16. Charlie Adam
Scotland midfielder Adam, a summer signing from Liverpool, has scored the winner in Stoke's last two home matches, both 1-0 victories over QPR and Fulham.
Kemp was pleased with the performance and result against the Cottagers on Saturday but thinks his side are making life unnecessarily tense for themselves by not converting their chances.
He said: "I thought we played better than the result suggested but it's no good me saying that, we have to score the goals to justify that. It's all about goals and we're not scoring enough from the chances that we're creating.
"We don't want to keep making it as nervous as that or we'll all grow old very quickly. If we can get two or three up in games when we're playing well then it will make life a bit easier.
"We had 14 shots against Fulham but only two were on target. We can't keep claiming bad luck - it's not bad luck if you keep missing the target."
The three points lifted Stoke up to 12th place in the Barclays Premier League table and on the same points as Fulham and Liverpool above them.
But, while those two teams have managed 25 and 17 goals respectively, Stoke have only scored 11, one more than lowest-scoring trio Aston Villa, Norwich and QPR.
Kemp said of Adam: "He's produced two quality finishes, and that's what we've been missing in our play. We've been having shots but the quality of the finishing's not been as good as the build-up play.
"Charlie's two finishes have been very good and that's the type of thing we're looking for, but we need more of it, and not just from Charlie, from all the players."
Where Stoke have not had any problems is in keeping goals out at the other end. They have conceded just once at home all season in the league and have kept four consecutive clean sheets at the Britannia Stadium.
They will be looking to make it five against Newcastle tomorrow evening, and Kemp said: "We've got to take advantage of our home games and we've pretty much done that this year.
"The defending's been very good, we've only conceded one goal in the league this season at home but we want to push on and make ourselves a better team and harder to beat by scoring more goals."
One of the key figures in their defensive solidity has been captain Ryan Shawcross, who was rewarded for his impressive form with a first England cap against Sweden earlier this month.
The 25-year-old joined the club from Manchester United in 2007 and is poised to sign a new contract that would keep him in Staffordshire for the next six years.
"That would be fantastic news for the club," said Kemp. "Ryan is our captain, he's a stalwart of the team, everyone looks to him and he's a consistent performer.
"It would be a big signing if we could keep him here. He's had a good career at Stoke City, I think he realises that, and I think he's keen to stay."
While Stoke are heading in the right direction, Newcastle will arrive at the Britannia Stadium looking to halt a run of three successive league defeats.
Kemp remains a big admirer of Alan Pardew's side, though, particularly strikers Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba, who almost joined Stoke in January 2011 but failed a medical.
"They beat us twice last season and we want to rectify that tomorrow," said Kemp. "Any team with Ba and Cisse up front is always going to be a threat and that's going to test us.
"Newcastle have had a blip but all teams will have a blip at some point in the season, even the team that wins the league. You don't take notice of that. We know what they can do and we'll be ready for them."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis could name the same side that beat Fulham, with defender Andy Wilkinson (back) and striker Michael Owen (hamstring) unlikely to be risked.
Owen has so far managed only 53 minutes of action for the Potters since joining the club in September but Kemp is confident the former England man will prove to be a valuable asset.
"It is frustrating but you just have to accept these things, there's no point dwelling on it," said Kemp.
"If he's not available then you have to move on and work with the players that are available. We know the qualities he has and we hope he can produce them for Stoke City."