Stoke boss Tony Pulis has emphasised that horse-mad Michael Owen is not at the club to make up the numbers or keep the bench at the Britannia warm on a wet and windy Thursday night. Pulis has fired out a warning to the rest of the Premier League saying that Owen will be fit, playing regularly and scoring goals again.
The 32-year-old ‘glass man’ joined Stoke on a free after being released from Manchester United and his exit left several medical staff without a job at Old Trafford. Owen may have spent most of his time at the Theatre of Dreams on the treatment table but according to Pulis he’s raring to go and make a fresh start at the Britannia.
‘We’re delighted with the deal we’ve got and feel it’s well worth taking a chance with a player like Michael for all sorts of reasons’, Pulis told The Sun newspaper. ‘We believe, once he’s match-fit, that he’ll prove he can still score goals in the Premier League’.
The injury-prone striker will be reunited with England striker Peter Crouch and Stoke fans will be hoping they can reignite the partnership that proved fairly prolific at international level.
The Premier League confirmed Michael Owen was eligible to play for Stoke and rubber-stamped the paperwork when the squads were confirmed last Tuesday meaning that Owen could make his debut against Manchester City on Saturday 15th September. No doubt he will get a raucous reception from the away end thanks to this goal in 2009.
Stoke are 9/2 to beat the Champions at the Britannia next Saturday and pick up there first win in the Premier League season. The Potters have drawn all three of their opening games and are typically difficult to beat at home. They finished 14th last season, 44 points behind Manchester City and will be looking to improve on that this year. With Paddy Power’s season handicap betting you can back Stoke +37 points at 18/1.