Stoke City football chief John Rudge admits they're delighted with their settled defence.

Rudge has hailed the defensive pairing of Robert Huth and skipper Ryan Shawcross.

He told The Sentinel: "They get on pretty well off the pitch, which is important, and on the pitch they seem to read each other.

"That's so crucial in such an important area of the team and they know they have to perform with players of the calibre of Matthew Upson also at the club these days.

"Throw in the fact we have such a strong goalkeeping situation with Asmir Begovic and Thomas Sorensen, and you can see that triangle at the back of the team is looking pretty strong."