Whitehead targets top ten

Midfielder eyes strong finish to Stoke campaign

Dean Whitehead(l) has hailed Peter Crouch and is targeting a top ten finish for the Potters

Stoke midfielder Dean Whitehead is targeting a first-ever top ten finish for the Potters in the Premier League.

Tony Pulis' side are now in their fourth season of Premier League football and have previously finished 12th, 11th and 13th in the table.

A win over Wolves on Saturday took the Potters into 11th with 41 points and Whitehead is targeting a strong end to the season, starting at Aston Villa on Monday.

The game will be the 51st match of a gruelling season for the Potters which has seen them reach the last 32 of the Europa League and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

"We want to show that we aren't prepared to let what has been a fantastic season just fizzle out."

Dean Whitehead

Quotes of the week

Whitehead said: "You have to praise all of the lads because it has been a long hard season, but we will still be in there battling all the way through to the last whistle on the final day of the season.

"We want to show that we aren't prepared to let what has been a fantastic season just fizzle out.

"We want to get into the top ten - that is our target now.

"This win (against Wolves) should set us up well for Monday's game against Aston Villa, so we will go there full of confidence, and hopefully get another three points."

Crouch praise

Meanwhile, Whitehead has praised Peter Crouch, who headed home the winner from Jermaine Pennant's free-kick against Wolves to take his goal tally for the campaign to 13 in all competitions.

In the previous game at the Britannia Stadium, a 1-1 draw with Manchester City, he volleyed in a contender for goal of the season and there has been plenty of talk about whether or not the 31-year-old should be given an England recall in time for Euro 2012.

Whitehead feels he is right up there with the best in the Premier League, telling the club's official website: "I thought the front lads were absolutely brilliant (against Wolves).

"Crouchy and Jon (Walters) never stopped all game, and the deliveries from the wingers (Pennant and Matthew Etherington) were top notch as always.

"When you give players like Crouchy that sort of quality, they are going to score goals.

"He has scored quite a few recently, and I really don't think there are many better than him in the league at the moment."