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Tactics And Analysis

Stoke to overhaul scouting system

John Rudge is expected to end his 14-year association with Stoke City when his contract as director of football expires at the end of the season.

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It is understood Rudge will be the most senior casualty of a major overhaul of the club's scouting system under Mark Cartwright, who was appointed as new technical director last week as part of chairman Peter Coates' latest initiative to develop the Premier League club.

Coates feels there is a need for a much more expansive scouting network at the Britannia Stadium and a requirement to have better European networks for manager Tony Pulis. Moves to improve the scouting system began with the recent departure of senior scout Sam Ellis and Colin Dobson is also expected to leave next year.

Cartwright, a former agent who has worked with Stoke in the past, is excited at his new role with the club and will use his extensive experience of the foreign market to help Pulis with potential overseas signings.

Coates feels Stoke have fallen behind their Premier League rivals with a lack of depth when it comes to bringing in foreign players and their only serious foray into the overseas market - the £3 million signing of Diego Arismendi - proved to be a failure, with the Uruguayan recently released from his contract.

According to ESPN sources Coates is also eager to further raise the profile of the club's academy and hopes Cartwright will be able to play a crucial role in attracting more young players to the club.

"The chairman has invested a lot of money into the academy and wants the development to be a success," said the source. "While he has invested large sums of money on transfers in the last three years, he is eager to see Stoke attract the best talent in the country and develop their own players for the future."

Pulis is eager to link up with Cartwright and said recently: "I'm delighted to welcome Mark to the club and I look forward to working with him in the critically important area of player recruitment. In an increasingly complex market, it's important that we are as organised, thorough and skilled in this area as possible."

Midfielder Charlie Adam has been granted compassionate leave following the sudden death of his father and is unlikely to be part of Pulis' plans for Saturday's trip to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham.

Charlie Adam senior, himself a former professional footballer, was found dead at his Dundee home on Monday night. He was 50. Adam junior was a certain starter against Spurs, but has travelled to Scotland to join the rest of his family.


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