Thu, May


STOKE City chairman Peter Coates insists the club was not held to ransom by Kenwyne Jones over his desire to quit the Britannia Stadium.

Jones brought the issue of his future into the headlines when refusing to make himself available for the game against Liverpool on January 12, a move for which he was fined two week's wages.

Jones eventually got his way when Stoke agreed to the swap deal that will take him to Cardiff City and bring Peter Odemwingie in the opposite direction.

But Coates last night denied that the Trinidad and Tobago striker had profited from his action.

He said: "That's not the case. The fact is he could have gone at the end of the season because he is out of contract, but this deal looked like a sensible opportunity for us.

"I wouldn't like to think there was any circumstance where a player would think he can get his way by not playing for any football club."

Coates reiterated the club's intention to continue pursuing viable deals before the transfer window slams shut at 11pm on Friday.

And that could yet leave the door ajar for Sunderland's Lee Cattermole after Stoke's timely visit to Wearside tomorrow evening.

"If there are good deals to be done that will improve us," he stressed, "then we will try to do them, but they don't come easy."