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Butland calls for Stoke response

Jack Butland is hoping some of his derby-day success rubs off on his Stoke City colleagues when they aim to disperse the Britannia Stadium gloom in Saturday's clash with West Bromwich Albion.

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The goalkeeper was celebrating his 20th birthday on Sunday while his new club's slide continued with a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Newcastle.

But he was back among the Potteries public at a supporters' function on Monday night and is pinning his hopes on Stoke doing to Albion in four days' time what Birmingham City, with him in their goal, did to Derby County in another all-Midlands clash at the weekend when the Blues won 3-1 at St Andrew's.

"I felt for them when I heard the result," said the rookie England man. "It was just unfortunate to concede so late on.

"The lads have been fantastic defensively this year and they will put what happened to the back of their minds.

"There's only one focus now and that's the next game. They will be raring to go on Saturday."

The prodigious Bristolian joined Stoke at the end of the January window for an initial £3 million but has been loaned back to Birmingham for the rest of the Championship campaign.

While Lee Clark's side have taken steps towards safety by collecting four points from their last two games, Stoke are in the doldrums after winning only one of their last ten in the league – and losing four of the last five.

Pappe Cisse's 92nd-minute winner at St James' Park made it another grim away day at the weekend but Butland, who is making trips up the M6 for training when possible, recognises that he has a big job on his hands to displace Asmir Begovic if the current incumbent is still at the club next season.

"His shot-stopping, decision-making and presence have been solid all season," he added. "That is why there has been so much talk about him.

"I feel very lucky to be here and to have the chance to come in and train a couple of days a week. That's helping me feel part of the team.

"We felt it (going back to Birmingham) was the right thing to continue my development. It works out well for all sides and was the sensible option."

Begovic is reportedly attracting interest from some of the Premier League's biggest clubs, including Manchester United, but his continued presence at the Britannia Stadium in 2013-14 could prompt to Butland being sent out again on loan.


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