- Premier League
Adam prepared for relegation battle
Charlie Adam insists Stoke are not contemplating Championship football as they prepare to face a Manchester United backlash at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.
Weekend results left Tony Pulis's side precariously placed only three points above 18th-placed Wigan, who have a game in hand on them.
It is not the sort of end-of-season scenario the Scottish midfielder visualised when he moved south from Liverpool last August but he believes there's still enough in the camp to ensure safety.
"We are not thinking about relegation," Adam said. "This is a club that has been in the Premier League for the last five or six years. We are going through a bad patch. It's there for everyone to see.
"We are the only people who can pick it up and there are six games to go. We need to win some matches. If we can, we will be fine.
"We are in the relegation scrap now. It's about characters and we will see how good the character of the group is. That has got to be the question now and we have to step up to the mark.
"You need hard work. If we don't have that, we are going to be sucked into it. It's just not happening for us in the latter part of the season. There's no-one else who can change it. We are the ones who are in control on the pitch. It's up to us to get out of it."
Saturday's 3-1 home defeat against relegation rivals Aston Villa extended the club's awful 2013 run to more than three-and-a-half months with only one Premier League victory to show for it, and was marked by more booing from the stands.
The outlook for this coming weekend was hardly helped by United's 2-1 defeat against Manchester City last night - a result that left the champions-elect with work to do.
"There's nothing bigger than Man United on Sunday," Adam said. "They are going for the title but we are at home and if we can get our confidence up for the game, who knows? But it's going to be a tough match for us.
"Of course I can understand the frustrations of the fans. They don't want to see the team where it is. As a group of players, we don't want to be there.
"You need to be able to handle the pressure. If you can't do that, it's difficult to be a footballer. It's how you handle it in the next couple of weeks.
"I thought Villa played well against us. They passed it and put us under pressure. It was always going to be a tough game and we need to make sure we have the characters in the dressing room to bounce back from this result."
Stoke's dismal 2012-13 away league record of nine defeats and only one victory, with trips to QPR, Sunderland and Southampton still to come, keeps a critical focus on what happens at the Britannia Stadium.
But Adam believes it's wrong to prioritise one half of the remaining programme above the other.
"We need to pick up points wherever," Adam said. "We need to start doing what we did at the start of the season; getting after teams and enforcing our game upon them. Then, hopefully, we can get some positive results."