Lawrence braced for Stoke exit

Midfielder Liam Lawrence has confirmed he expects to leave Stoke

this summer because of a lack of first-team opportunities.

The Republic of Ireland international started only 14 games in

the 2009/10 season and found himself behind Dean Whitehead and Rory

Delap in the pecking order.

Lawrence, 28, told the Sentinel: “I don’t want to leave Stoke

but it is becoming increasingly difficult with other players

playing in my position.

“I have nothing but respect for (manager) Tony Pulis and have

never fallen out with him in three and a half years at the

club.

“But, purely for footballing reasons, it is time to move on.

That is best for both parties.

“The team has done well whether I have played or not, so I am

not going to moan and say I should be playing. But I am not a

player who is happy to sit on the bench and just pick my wages

up.

“I have agreed with the manager that this is the right thing to

do. He told me he didn’t want me to go but he understood where I

was coming from.”

Lawrence joined Stoke for £500,000 from Sunderland in

January 2007 and played a major role in their promotion to the

Premier League the following summer.

He signed a new four-year deal at the Britannia Stadium last

summer but things have not worked out how he had hoped.

Lawrence has been linked with a move to Wolves, which would see

him reunited with Mick McCarthy, his former boss at Sunderland.

He continued: “I am aware of interest from clubs and hope I can

stay in the Premier League but I won’t be doing anything without

Stoke knowing.”