According to the Stoke Sentinel, Stoke City are set to welcome midfielder Badou Ndiaye back in the first-team picture, with the report claiming that the Senegalese international is expected to return to the squad this weekend ahead of the club’s clash against Birmingham City.
The news of Ndiaye’s return surely comes as a massive boost to the Potters after four defeats in their first five fixtures in the Championship. Jones will be looking to turn his team’s fortunes around when they make the trip to St. Andrew’s to face Birmingham City on Saturday.
Despite that, however, Stoke City head into the game against the Blues on the back of a positive result, having registered a penalty-shootout victory over Leeds United in the EFL Cup after losing 3-0 to Marcelo Bielsa’s in the league last week.
Indeed, that was Stoke’s first major scalp of the ongoing campaign and the Potters have every reason to be somewhat buoyed by the victory. And the fans could be in for some more welcome news, with a potential return for Ndiaye this weekend apparently on the cards.
Ndiaye, who made his move to Stoke City from Galatasaray for a fee of £14 million back in January 2018, impressed with his energetic and influential displays in the Premier League, although that wasn’t enough to save the club from relegation.
The 28-year-old spent the last season on loan at Galatasaray, where his consistent run of form in the first-team over the entirety of the campaign helped the Turkish giants win the domestic league.
The Senegalese midfielder looked set for a permanent exit from the bet365 Stadium earlier in the summer after guiding his nation to a runners-up finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, with Sevilla and Fenerbahce touted as potential destinations for the 28-year-old. (h/t Stoke Sentinel)
Surprisingly enough, though, Ndiaye is apparently on the verge of making a comeback into Stoke’s ranks following a loan spell in Turkey and he is set to join Dutch centre-back Bruno Martins-Indi in the squad ahead of the trip to Birmingham City this weekend.
Martins-Indi featured at the back for the Potters in the League Cup game and it would be a pleasant surprise for the fans if Ndiaye makes it to the starting eleven on Saturday.
Truth be told, Ndiaye’s return couldn’t have come at a better time for the club, with the Potters currently languishing rock-bottom of the Championship standings after Round 5 following a dismal start to the ongoing campaign.
The 28-year-old was one of Stoke’s standout performers in the second half of the 2017-18 season in the top-flight and his dynamic style of play, as well as his versatility to play in multiple roles in the midfield, should provide Jones with a lot more cushion while selecting his best eleven.
Ryan Woods has been given the nod over Jordan Cousins more often than not for a starting role at the base of Stoke’s midfield diamond in the Championship but, now that Ndiaye ios back in the picture, one would expect him to stake a claim for a regular starting role over the coming weeks.
The 28-year-old is also capable of providing cover and competition for the likes of Sam Clucas and Joe Allen and Jones might be tempted to rotate the latter with Ndiaye, given the former Liverpool man’s mediocre start to the campaign.
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All in all, Stoke need to get back to winning ways at the earliest and the return of the Senegalese enforcer is definitely a big positive for them.
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