Shawcross eager to go one better

Stoke will head to Gillingham for their FA Cup third-round tie on Saturday motivated by the bitter memories of last year's final disappointment.

The Stoke defenders celebrate.

Tony Pulis' side lost 1-0 to Manchester City at Wembley last May as they failed to reproduce the kind of performance which had swept aside Bolton so impressively in the semi-finals.

Captain Ryan Shawcross admitted the defeat had strengthened the team's determination to go one better in the future.

"The thought uppermost in my mind when we made our way up to the Royal Box was that I want to be going up as a winner next time," the 24-year-old told the Potters' official website.

"One of the secrets of any success is to learn from your setbacks and disappointments, then come back even stronger. That has got to be our target now.

"As hard as it was to accept that we didn't perform well in that final, there is a burning desire now to get to more cup finals so that we can win a trophy."

The clash at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium had briefly been under threat of postponement before the npower League Two club came to an agreement with Kent Police which will ensure a police presence at the ground.

The game also sees Pulis return to the club he managed between 1995 and 1999 before a spectacular falling out with Gillingham chairman Paul Scally.

His current side lie eighth in the Barclays Premier League following a run of one defeat in eight league games, the latter a 2-1 win at Blackburn with Peter Crouch scoring twice.

The striker is likely to be rested as Pulis makes changes, with Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome in line to feature in attack.

Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is expected to come in for Thomas Sorensen, while defender Matthew Upson could also feature.

However, Shawcross believes the visitors will still field a strong team.

"The encouraging thing is that we have done well in the cup competitions since we won promotion and there is no reason why we can't continue that," he added.

"Although we face a tricky third round tie at Gillingham, we believe we can go on another successful run which could lead all the way back to Wembley.

"I am sure we will put out a strong team. The manager is going back to his old club, so that is an added incentive to get through to the next round."

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