Carew eyes final Potters push

Published May. 17, 2011 2:59 p.m. ET

John Carew has urged Stoke to prove they are the best side in the Midlands by finishing above West Brom and Aston Villa this season.

The Potters travel to Manchester City on Tuesday night for an FA Cup final rematch after suffering Wembley heartache against Roberto Mancini's men on Saturday.

A revenge win would ensure they finish at the head of the top flight's Midlands mini-league - barring a massive swing in goal difference.

But even if they lose, they will still have another chance to secure the bragging rights by winning Sunday's final game of the season against Wigan.

Veteran striker Carew could earn a recall tonight if manager Tony Pulis decides not to risk the likes of Matthew Etherington or Jermaine Pennant.

Asked if being the top midlands club was now a target, he said: "Absolutely, and to try to finish as high as we can and finish top 10 first of all and still have a great season."

Regardless of their league finish, ninth-placed Stoke already know they will be in the Europa League next season after City qualified for the Champions League.


On-loan Aston Villa forward Carew, who will be out of contract this summer, added: "We're in the top 10 now in the league and we came to the final, so we didn't have a disappointing season.

"We always look to improve and do even better, but we're always proud of the season we did."

Midfielder Glenn Whelan insisted Saturday's defeat would not take away from the club's amazing achievements this term.

"It's a great season," he said.

"Getting to a final. No-one fancied us to win before the game and we've done okay.

"Obviously, getting to Europe is a big occasion for the club and hopefully we can push on now.

"Big disappointment, but we will put that to the back of our minds."

Whelan was also able reflect on a personal triumph this season, having forced his way back into the side to play a key role for Pulis' men.

"I was out early on in the season but got back in and I think my form's been pretty decent since," he said.

"So hopefully play the next two games and kick on, and see where it takes us."