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Sep 20, 2012

Whelan: Competition healthy at Stoke

Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan is relishing the intense competition for places in Tony Pulis' midfield and looking forward to hanging on to his spot for Saturday's trip to Chelsea - and beyond.

Whelan, 28, was effective in helping stifle the talents of his first club Manchester City in last weekend's draw at the Britannia Stadium and faces another tall order against the early Premier League pacesetters.

The Republic of Ireland international has started each of the Potters' first four Premier League games this season amid competition from a raft of summer signings, including Charlie Adam, Steven N'Zonzi, Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu, and he believes Stoke's squad has never been stronger.

"There was a lot of chat about myself when the manager made a few new additions to the team but I want to stay here and I want to play for my spot," Whelan told Stoke's official website.

"I will keep working hard and these players will push me on but I hope I can push them, too. It has been a building process each year and we have signed some big players. Hopefully the fans are grateful for that. They will keep coming and cheering us as they do, although it's up to us to give them something to cheer about."

Whelan appears likely to keep his place at Stamford Bridge, with Pulis expected to favour a 4-5-1 formation in anticipation of a backs-to-the-wall afternoon.

"We know we have had a really tough start by playing both Arsenal and Manchester City," Whelan said. "We have not lost yet (in the Premier League), so that's a good thing.

"We know it's going to be really tough at Chelsea but if we go in the way we have done in the first four games by showing a great attitude and making chances, you never know."

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