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The Departure of experienced players has hurt Stoke City

(Ah Fat Talk Ball) - The departure of experienced players and poor recruitment in recent seasons are among the reasons for Stoke City's dismal Premier League campaign, former midfielder Matthew Etherington said.

Midfielders Marko Arnautovic and Glenn Whelan as well as striker Jonathan Walters left relegation-threatened Stoke in the close season and Etherington suggested that the club have struggled to cope.

Stoke are second from bottom in the league with 27 points from 33 games. The club sacked Mark Hughes in January and replaced him with Paul Lambert who has struggled to improve them.

Etherington said that he was less than impressed with the recent arrivals at the club with the likes of midfielders Jese Rodriguez and Mame Biram Diouf still not hitting their stride.

Stoke face 14th-placed West Ham United, another of Etherington's former clubs, in the league on Monday.

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