x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Daniel Sturridge grateful for Bolton opportunities

Former Bolton loanee grateful for his chances, elsewhere Pulis wants Stoke to keep the momentum after 'excellent results'.

Chelsea have won on their last eight visits to the Reebok Stadium without conceding a goal and, providing they do not reproduce the kind of wastefulness that has dogged them on their travels of late, they are expected to take all three points from Bolton Wanderers.

That would pile on the misery for Owen Coyle, who has been a close friend of Andre Villas-Boas since the pair studied together for their Uefa licence.

"We've kept in touch for a long time, exchanging ideas on players," Villas-Boas said.

"We spoke a lot during the beginning of my career in England, and also when I was at Porto.

"The relationship has been a good relationship throughout and I respect him a lot."

Daniel Sturridge also knows Coyle well after spending the second half of last season on loan at Bolton.

The striker looks set for a recall today along with Didier Drogba, due to the start of a three-match ban for Fernando Torres following his red card against Swansea City.

Sturridge told Chelsea TV: "I enjoyed my time at Bolton and I have a lot of love for the players and a lot of love for the manager, especially, because he gave me the opportunities to showcase what I can do.

"I don't think I would be in the position I am in now without going to Bolton and without the manager there showing faith in me."

Tony Pulis, the Stoke City manager, does not want to see a successful week again end on a sour note when his team face Swansea today.

Two weeks ago, the Staffordshire side had overcome Liverpool 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium and then held Dynamo Kiev to a 1-1 draw in Ukraine in their Europa League Group E opener, only to be hammered 4-0 at Sunderland.

It was their first, and to this point only, defeat of the campaign, and Pulis is keen to avoid a repeat against the Swans.

"The big challenge is raising your game for matches in a week, which is what we need to do at Swansea after the excellent results against Manchester United and Besiktas," Pulis told the club's website.

Andrew Johnson wants to extend his contract with Fulham past the end of the season.

The 30-year-old striker was the Cottagers' standout performer, scoring both goals in the midweek Europa League defeat of Odense in Denmark, which ended an eight-game winless streak that stretched back to mid-August.

Johnson's performance at the Odense Stadion has strengthened his call for a starting berth against Queens Park Rangers today.

He has netted six goals in nine Europa League games but said that team success is more important than personal glory.

"All I can do is keep working hard in training day in, day out," he said.

"When I am selected and called upon I do the best I can."