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Etherington admits Stoke not in best form for Hajduk Split clash

Stoke City winger Matthew Etherington admits the lead up into their Europa League clash with Hajduk Split hasn't been ideal.

Etherington acknowledged that Stoke's pre-season form and results had been poor, but remains confident they will be ready for their Europa League debut.

Hajduk's spies watched the back-to-back defeats at Brentford and Aldershot last weekend, and Etherington quipped to The Sentinel: "They've probably gone home thinking it will be a walk in the park for them.

"But we are a different animal at the Britannia and it will be all guns blazing.

"We've had a really tough pre-season with a lot of hard work, and it takes a couple of weeks after that to get back into the swing of things.

"A lot of work in a short space of time takes its toll and you need a few days for the body to recover to see and feel the benefits.

"Now I think we are as ready as we can be. We would have liked a bit more time, but the fitness is more or less there now.

"But we also know we have to improve performances because what we are playing against on Thursday is a step up in class.

"It's important how you play tactically. Our manager is usually very good on that and will know how to play on their weaknesses."

 It's kicking off again! Click here for your No1 source for Stoke transfer market news and gossip.

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