Wilkinson - We are ready

Potters defender looks forward to European adventure

Wilkinson: Stoke defender sharpening his competitive edge in pre-seaon

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Andy Wilkinson feels Stoke's arduous pre-season campaign will have them fighting fit for their Premier League opener against Chelsea.

The Potters have already started their season following their involvement in the Europa League and played their last pre-season game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Yet Wilkinson is confident that he and his team-mates will reap the physical rewards of their hard work later in the season.

"I think our fitness showed towards the end of last season, so we know the rewards for all our hard work over the past few weeks will come."

Andy Wilkinson

Quotes of the week

"It has obviously been very hard, but we have come through it now and we know from here on in every game is competitive," he told the club's official website after the game against Wednesday.

Limits

"It's all about pushing yourself to the limits in pre-season, and now we have done that we should be in a great position for the rest of the season ahead.

"I think our fitness showed towards the end of last season, so we know the rewards for all our hard work over the past few weeks will come."

Stoke beat Hadjuk Split 1-0 last week at the Britannia Stadium courtesy of a goal from Jon Walters.

Qualifying

They are now preparing for the second leg on Thursday as they look to claim a place in the final Europa League qualifying round.

He added: "We know it will be tough, but at the moment we have the lead, and we know if we grab a goal over there it will really put them under pressure.

"If we do that, they will have to score three goals which will be hard for them."