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Aug 27, 2012

Kightly: Home form will be key for Stoke

Michael Kightly believes Stoke City can cling to "fortress" Britannia as they look to build on their unbeaten start to the season.

• Whittaker: Binary is back at Stoke

The new £3 million signing followed up his goalscoring debut at Reading nine days ago by making a promising first appearance in front of the home fans in Sunday's stalemate with Arsenal.

Tony Pulis' side are on view again in the Potteries with a Tuesday night Capital One Cup tie against Swindon and Kightly insists visiting teams are likely to continue finding it tough at one of the Premier League's most daunting venues.

"There's a great atmosphere," he said. "I have played here for Wolves and know it's a fortress. I'm looking forward to playing many more games in this stadium.

"It's a tough place to come and it's nice to be on the other side of the fence as part of the home team. They're as good as gold and everyone has immediately made me feel part of the team.

"There weren't many clear-cut chances (against Arsenal) and we might have worked the keeper more often but, if you are picking up results against the top sides, it's points gained, not lost.

"Keep clean sheets and you don't lose. That's a key thing in our game. We have a tough start and we're unbeaten without looking like we're going to get beaten. Hopefully we can keep that going."

Kightly is waiting to learn how many of Sunday's starting line-up are retained for the tie with Paolo di Canio's team barely two days on from the latest in a long line of competitive fixtures against Arsenal.

But he hopes the club can make progress whatever in a competition that was a low priority last season because of Europa League commitments.

"It's always nice to do well in the cups," he added. "I have never had a good cup run, so it is time I had one."

Pulis has warned of a busy week of comings and goings at the Britannia Stadium and said the dealings could resume as early as Monday.

He is looking again for a way to resolve the impasse over Tom Huddlestone's proposed loan move north as worries persist over who would pay the Tottenham midfielder's wages if he had further problems with his ankle.

Michael Dawson might appear larger on his radar, too, if the Spurs central defender is within his price bracket.

"I would love to take Dawson but, whether we can afford him, I'm not sure," he admitted. "He and Huddlestone would make us a better team but you have a level of what you can spend."

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