Lawrence urges Stoke to spend big

After clinching Premiership promotion, Stoke City winger Liam Lawrence has urged the club to spend big in the summer.

"We've got to spend a lot of money in the summer," said midfielder Lawrence. "You need quality in depth to make any impression in the Barclays Premier League or you have no chance.

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"But we will be favourites to come straight back down along with whoever wins the play-offs. This means more than getting up the last time. I thought I did OK then, but we struggled."

The people of Stoke are about to witness top-flight football for the first time in 23 years, but their physical football has won few friends.

"The whole place has gone mental about this promotion," said Lawrence. "The town is football crazy and every single person has gone absolutely mad.

"And we're not up there by fluke because we have been astonishingly consistent. We know some people will consider us cannon fodder as the new boys and you can see where they are coming from.

"People cane us for the way we play but it doesn't bother us. We are going to be men about it."

Chairman Peter Coates said that he had taken a risk by bankrolling promotion - and is determined not to follow in Derby's footsteps.

"I have gambled this year and fortunately it's come off," he said. "We will get serious and we are going to try to make sure we make the most of it."

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