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Ade on a Gills mission

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03 April 2003 | editor

Stoke star Ade Akinbiyi remains on collision course with old club Gillingham this weekend after a successful start to life at the Britannia.

And the on-loan striker joined the club's other forwards for extra training as manager Tony Pulis fired up his players for the final push towards First Division salvation. Akinbiyi looks set to lead City's attack for the first time on Saturday when Stoke will also unveil fellow newcomer Paul Warhurst in midfield.

"They've fitted in very well," Pulis reports, "and settled quickly into the dressing room alongside the other lads.

"Both are looking increasingly sharp in training after recent lay-offs with injury, and things are being geared nicely towards Saturday.

"Paul obviously has a hatful of experience under his belt and we are hoping he brings that to bear during his stay with us. With Ade, it's a case of making use of his pace, power and commitment.

"Ade and the other front lads had an extra session before the other players yesterday to work on things such as crossing, finishing and movement.

"Everybody knows we must score more goals, but not just the forwards, we need everyone contributing."

Akinbiyi, like Warhurst, is on loan at Stoke until the end of the season and the fixture list throws up a chance meeting with the club where he and Pulis worked so successfully together earlier in their respective careers.

Pulis has an embarrassment of numbers in attack where Andy Cooke, Chris Iwelumo and Chris Greenacre are also vying for a place, while Lee Mills has thrown his hat back into the ring after returning to training following a road accident.

Warhurst, meanwhile, is being primed to replace the suspended James O'Connor in central midfield where partner Brynjar Gunnarsson has returned to Stoke unscathed after appearing in Iceland's 2-1 defeat by Scotland at Hampden Park last Saturday.

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