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Thursday, November 15, 2012
Etherington to fight for Stoke spot

Ian Edwards

Matthew Etherington is determined to prove to manager Tony Pulis he still has a future at Stoke City after a frustrating start to the season.

• Blog: Fingers Shawcrossed

Etherington, 31, has struggled to find a regular place in Pulis' side this season, following the 3 million arrival of Michael Kightly from Wolves and has also suffered with injuries, but returned to the side for the first time since the opening day of the season for last Saturday's 1-0 defeat of Queens Park Rangers.

The former West Ham winger remains grateful to Stoke and Pulis for giving him the platform and support to turn around his career in 2009, when he was forced to leave Upton Park because of gambling debts estimated at around 800,000.

After a disappointing opening to the new campaign, Etherington is focused on building on his appearance against QPR and staying in the side for the trip to face his former side on Monday night.

"Moving to Stoke was a massive turning point for me, both on and off the field. It has been a great move for me personally and I am grateful for being given the chance to move to the Britannia and turning things around again," he said.

Etherington still has two years remaining on the four-year contract he signed in 2010 and wants to repay the faith shown in him, adding: "I still feel I still have a good couple of years in me in the Premier League.

"Hopefully those years will be at Stoke. I feel I can still do well at Stoke and put in good performances in the Premier League. I just want to get back in the side on a regular basis and get back to performing at the levels I know I am capable of.

"It has been frustrating not being in the side. I am not going to lie about that. I just have to do enough to show I am worthy of staying in the side. It is hard sitting on the bench. That is the manager's decision and I respect that."

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