Forest cup-tie is ‘nice distraction’ from league, says Rowett

Manager Gary Rowett, who is under pressure already at Stoke City.
Manager Gary Rowett, who is under pressure already at Stoke City.

Under-fire manager Gary Rowett says Stoke City’s Carabao Cup, Third Round tie at Nottingham Forest tomorrow night will be “a nice distraction” from their league toils.

Ex-Derby County boss Rowett was widely tipped to lead Stoke back to the Premier League after their relegation last season.

But after a 3-2 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, they sit as low as 18th in the Championship table with only two wins from their opening nine games.

At a press conference this afternoon, Rowett said: “Every game is important and we won’t be prioritising one over the other.

“But the trip to Forest is a one-off and a nice distraction from the league.”

Nevertheless, Rowett warned that he is unlikely to field a full-strength side for the City Ground tie.

“It’s a three-game week for us again, and maybe we lost energy on Saturday because of the continuity we went with.

“We also wanted continuity in our first Carabao Cup gamne, but we need to balance other things this time round, so we will bring some freshness into the side. We will mix it up.

“Mame Diouf has a hamstring strain, so he is one we have to be careful with anyway.

“Sometimes in the cup, managers make wholesale changes and they play a different way to normal.

“But Forest are a good side. Aitor Karanka is doing well and has stabilised them after a slow start. They will make changes, just as we will do.”

Whoever plays tomorrow, Rowett said Stoke, as a club, are determined to put Saturday’s league defeat behind them.

He added: “Any manager will say that any defeat is hugely disapointing. It has affected the mood a tiny bit, but players and staff are resilient and we intend to bounce back quickly. It is good to have this game against Forest so soon after Saturday.

“We all want to do better, and we will work together to do that. I still believe we have the players to turn around our fortunes significantly.

“I remember my second game as manager of Burton Albion and we lost by seven away to Bristol Rovers. That was incredble pressure, and I have been in similar positions to this in the past many times.

“This game has so many ups and downs, but I am in this job because I enjoy it.”