Stoke complete Etherington swoop

Stoke have completed the signing of Matthew Etherington from West Ham and he is expected to make his debut against Liverpool on Saturday.

The 27-year-old midfielder has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal at the Britannia Stadium after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee, believed to be £3million.

Manager Tony Pulis believes Etherington's experience in the top flight will be crucial in their fight to avoid relegation.

"I think Matthew feels it is right to get out of London and start again," Pulis said.

"Perhaps we can give him the love and care he has not had for a while."

Etherington was keen to make a fresh start after being troubled by gambling problems.

Pulis believes he can give the player the support the player needs to rediscover his best form.

"No disrespect but we are at a club where we can't deal in the top bracket of players we would like to bring here, " said the Stoke boss.

"You are always working below that. We are not at Crufts, we are at Battersea Dogs Home. We are looking for strays. We are looking for people who have gone astray with the aim of bringing them back.

"You look for players who have gone off the rails and for whatever reason have not fulfilled their potential."

Pulis added: "I have really got a feeling from him. If we can get him back to his best, he will be a really exciting player for our supporters.

"We have been looking for a wide player with pace. Matthew has the ability to beat a player and run the ball from one end of the pitch to another.

"He scores goals and his set pieces are good as well. If we can seal the deal we will be very pleased."

Etherington is looking forward to the challenge of trying to get the side up the table.

"It took me a while to think about things but this is the right decision for me and my career, " he told www.stokecityfc.co.uk.

"I have seen a little bit of Stoke this season and they are very hard to beat.

"Hopefully I can offer something going forward, plenty of assists and maybe a few goals."

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