Etherington hopeful Stoke can secure top-half finish

Matthew Etherington believes the current Stoke City squad can record the club's highest ever Premier League finish by gate-crashing the top 10.

The Potters have firmly established themselves as a top-flight side after four consecutive years in England's highest division but, as of yet, they have failed to finish in the top half of the table.

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Etherington insists the current crop at the Britannia Stadium are more than capable of reaching that landmark, suggesting that a total of 45 to 50 points could be enough for Tony Pulis' men to make history.

"We have always gone down to the last couple of games in 10th spot or just outside the top 10, but never finished there,” he told the club's official website.

"I remember the last game a couple of seasons ago against Wigan when a win, which we should have got, would have meant a top-half finish.

"That's how close we have been without doing it yet. I think we deserve it because of our consistency over the years.”

Etherington enjoyed one of his most productive campaigns last season, and insists he is close to returning to his best after overcoming problems on and off the pitch.

"I feel I have been getting there in recent weeks,” the former Tottenham and West Ham midfielder added.

“I've got quite a few 90 minutes under my belt and I am feeling fitter and stronger than I have for a long time. On and off the field, I've never been happier."

Stoke currently sit 10th in the Premier League and face a trip to Fulham in their next league game.

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