As Rafa Benitez was restricted to a net spend of only £11.5m and reliance on signings around the £5m mark to build up a team/squad, Stoke City were paying out £18m for Kevin Wimmer.

The centre-back made his Stoke debut on Saturday, as the Potters drew 2-2 with early league leaders Manchester United.

Asked whether the visit to Newcastle would be the easiest game so far (Stoke have also played Arsenal at home and West Brom & Everton away), Kevin Wimmer says the game at St James Park ‘Is still difficult, even if many people would expect us to go there and get at least a point, maybe three’.

Starting with a defeat at big spending Everton, Stoke have then been unbeaten, with a win over Arsenal and draws against West Brom and Manchester United.

It is seven years since Stoke last won on Tyneside, with three Newcastle wins and two draws since Saturday’s visitors won 2-1 in September 2010.

In the (last!) relegation season it was a 0-0 draw at St James Park but Newcastle fans will be hopeful of the team making it three wins in a row.

As Kevin Wimmer points out, Newcastle had a ‘difficult start but then they won their last game at home against West Ham and they won at Swansea’.

Stoke have always been renowned for their defence in recent years and Rafa Benitez is also building from the back. Despite having to do it on a budget, the United boss has plenty of competition in the defensive positions, apart from no available natural left-back – with four different players (Dummett, Mbemba, Clark and Gamez) already used there.

Despite injuries hitting his team, Newcastle have now gone over three hours without conceding a goal and if they repeat that on Saturday, then I think we have seen enough in these last two games to give us confidence that our players will manage a goal or two of their own.

Kevin Wimmer:

“I think we have a very good group of players and in the defence we have many options.

“I have been at the club for two weeks now and it’s a great group and a lot of fun.

“We have a very good squad and hopefully we will be a team that is very difficult to beat based on that strong defence.

“It will be a totally different game to Man Utd. Newcastle had quite a difficult start but then they won their last game at home against West Ham and they won at Swansea.

“It is still difficult even if many people would expect us to go there and get at least one point, maybe three.

“We will prepare very well. We know it’s going to be very difficult and hopefully we will come back with three points.”

  • TheNutJob

    We may lack quality in a few positions but what we do have is lads that will give 100% & Stoke are in for a fight !

  • Peaky Magpie

    Live near a lot of Stoke fans who say Mark Hughes is ok when he has a settled team playing the way he wants but give him a large budget in the transfer market and he’s not great with new signings.They’ll be hard to beat but I fancy a Toon 1-0 win.

    • Alan May

      love hughes 3 -1 stoke win

  • ghostrider

    I watched Stoke against Man Utd and was impressed by them.
    Mark Hughes has them playing much better football than Pulis ever did.
    However, I don’t care who they’ve bought or what they think we are on the must beat stage, because the game is only worth anything after the final whistle blows, for the team that takes the spoils.

  • TheFatController

    It’ll be a really tough game, so the difference may well be made by the atmosphere in the ground.

    Time the singing section made its felt by the away team. Time St James’ was rocking, Rafa and the players deserve it after the textbook away battle at Swansea

  • Kneebotherm8

    A bit of motivation there for the team?…………the opposition should be getting 3 points and all that…………..

  • Paul Patterson

    There’s Rafa’s team talk right there . .

  • Jimblag23

    We need Butland not to repeat his last trip to SJP when he was man of the match.

  • Martin Rooney

    ‘stoke have ALWAYS been renowned for their defence IN RECENT YEARS’ HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Lord

    Am sure Joselu will be up for it…

  • Milo79

    If teams want to take us for granted then that probably suits us. We know that survival is the target this year, but I sincerely hope we give them a nasty surprise on Saturday.

  • Toonrobbybobson

    Be hard to beat and we’ll grind them down. This team will out work most this season. That always bodes well. Id rather a team that outworks and has a plan as weve got nowhere in the recent past with the alternative.

  • Steve Pearce

    All I can say is that I hope we have a decent game of football against a team who have actually remembered how to play. For only then will be able to see how well our lads will play and how well they handle some proper opposition.

    3-0 to us and a Hoselu hat trick!