Walters hopes to upset the odds

BY foxsports • May 13, 2011

Having comfortably secured Premier League status for a fourth successive season, the Potters head to Wembley hoping to lift the FA Cup for the first time in their long history. Throughout their time in the top flight, Tony Pulis' side have come under fire for their physical style of play and perceived reliance on set-pieces. In that context, Stoke's 5-0 win in the semi-finals against Bolton was one of the most stunning results in recent years, and victory on Saturday would provide a perfect follow-up. Walters said: "The club's been written off so many times, we've been favourites to go down from the moment we came into the Premier League. "It's going to be a tough game. We're going to be by far the underdogs, which we generally are. Man City have spent ridiculous amounts of money so the pressure's going to be more on them. "At the start of the season I think they were expecting to be in the Champions League and to win some silverware. They've got players that have played on the biggest stage every season. "They're all good players and they're all tanks as well. People say we're a big physical side but you look at them and they're huge. "But we've been playing well all over the pitch. We've been defending well and keeping a lot of clean sheets so hopefully we can take our good form into the cup match." Far from the FA Cup proving a distraction, Stoke have picked up eight points from their last four Premier League games and were hugely impressive in beating Arsenal 3-1 last weekend. A top-10 finish for the first time in the Premier League is now highly likely, and Walters has certainly played his part. The striker has scored five goals in his last eight games, including a brace against Bolton, to take his tally for the season to 12. It is a fine return for a player whose nomadic career had taken in the likes of Wrexham and Chester before Pulis paid Ipswich £2.75million for his services last August. It was the FA Cup that put Walters' career back on an upward trend when he impressed for Chester in a third-round tie against Ipswich in 2006, which the Tractor Boys eventually won in a replay. Chester did not even expect to be playing in the third round after losing to Bury but were reinstated when the Shakers were found to have fielded an ineligible player. Walters said: "At the time there were a few clubs in for me. You always want to play well against the better players and I managed to do that in both games. "I was in League Two and that gave me that step back up again. Ipswich are a good team and I had good coaches around me and that helped." Having taken such a circuitous route to reach the top flight, Walters is determined to do everything possible to make sure his good form continues. He added: "Sometimes it's not so easy to adapt to playing with different players when you come into a new team but everyone's been brilliant with me since I came to the club and the past few months have just helped that along. "You've always got to believe you can play at the highest level. That's what you play football for and all the hard work that goes in off the pitch. "It's hard work that got me here and I'm not going to let that slip, I'm going to keep putting in the hard work I need to keep myself here. "We've got a great bunch of lads here and we do work ever so hard. I don't think there's a team in the Premier League that works harder than us."


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