Beattie prepares for Stoke debut

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The Independent Online

Stoke midfielder Michael Tonge is backing James Beattie to make an immediate impact at the relegation-threatened side.

Beattie looks certain to make his debut on Saturday against Chelsea after arriving from Sheffield United for a fee that could rise to £3.5m.

He has linked up again with Tonge, a team-mate last season at Bramall Lane.

Beattie scored 22 goals in that campaign for the Coca-Cola Championship side and weighed in with 12 this time around before sealing a return to the top flight.

Tonge told the Sentinel: "He is a very good player and a natural, old-fashioned target man.

"Beattie is really good in the air and has also scored more than 30 goals since the start of last season.

"He is a proven Premier League player and it is only in the last 18 months he has dropped down into the Championship.

"He has that work ethic, but also that extra ability you need. He can also score you goals out of nowhere."

The 30-year-old is looking forward to the challenge after signing a two-and-a-half-year deal.

Beattie said: "I have been brought up to score goals and am ready to give the Premier League another crack.

"Stoke have given me that opportunity and hopefully I can show the fans what I can do right away.

"I know the situation the club is in and I am prepared to roll my sleeves up and fight."

Manager Tony Pulis will hope Beattie can rediscover the form and prolific scoring he demonstrated as a youngster at Southampton, which earned him five England caps.

A £6m move to Everton in 2005 was less successful and he moved on to United at the start of last season after failing to hold down a regular starting spot at Goodison Park.

Beattie is Stoke's second signing in the window following the £3.5m arrival of midfielder Matthew Etherington from West Ham last week.

Pulis is keen to strengthen his squad further, and added: "We are still looking for two or three more before the window closes."

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