Kemp backs Stoke to revive great cup tradition after Fulham victory

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The Independent Football

Stoke City assistant manager Dave Kemp believes the club is moving in the right direction to emulate their League Cup glory days of the past.

A Potters side showing seven changes from the one which played against West Ham in the Premier League booked a place in the last 16 of the Carling Cup on Tuesday night by overcoming Fulham 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

Stoke have made major strides in recent years and Kemp feels they now have a squad which makes them genuine contenders again for the cup they won in 1972. "We want to do well. This club has a history in this competition and people around here are very proud of it," Kemp said.

"It is about time – we can do something about it. We're back in the top flight in the Premier League and we want to be good enough that we can maybe win competitions.

"I am not saying we are going to, but we are moving that way and moving the club forward inch by inch. Hopefully we are going to get into a position where we can compete for trophies."

A header from Danny Higginbotham gave the Potters the lead in the 23rd minute, the defender arriving at the far post to convert Matthew Etherington's corner. Kenwyne Jones then wrapped up the win with 11 minutes of normal time remaining, rising to nod home Rory Delap's throw-in.

It was Jones' third goal in his last three games and Kemp hailed the impact the Trinidadian – signed for a club-record £8m last month – has made. "He has been excellent since he has been here," Kemp said.

"He has scored three goals, held the ball up brilliantly, brought other players into play and he has given us something that we didn't have before. He has done very well."

Fulham manager Mark Hughes - who was left fuming at a challenge in the closing stages on Moussa Dembele by Andy Wilkinson which saw the striker carried off on a stretcher – felt his side did not do enough to trouble the hosts. "For long periods we had decent enough possession without really having that devilment and single-mindedness in the opposition's box – in fairness, in both boxes," Hughes said. "At times our defending and our attacking play was naive and as a consequence Stoke, in key areas of the field, were able to dominate us. In general play I thought we were OK up to a point, but we didn't really create enough clear-cut chances to put Stoke under pressure."

Hughes revealed that goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had admitted he was at fault for Stoke's first goal, although the manager thought his team had failed in general to deal with set-pieces. "He has held his hand up. I think he actually called for the ball so a number of players around him did not challenge for it and he has misjudged the flight," Hughes said. "He put his hand up for that, but he couldn't do anything about the second one because we lost the marker in the box. You talk about set-plays when you come to somewhere like Stoke and you have deal with them – unfortunately we didn't."