Jay Rodriguez is looking forward to rounding off the season with a physical challenge against the Potters on Sunday.
The striker has fond memories of playing Stoke after scoring one and having a helping hand in another goal from the 3-3 draw at the Britannia stadium in December, and he’s keen to test himself against City’s towering backline this weekend.
“Everyone enjoys that,” Jay says of the fight he faces against the likes of giant defenders Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross.
“It’s a tough sort of game to play, but it’s a good challenge and a different one. I think everyone will be looking forward to it and it will be a great game on Sunday.
“We’re still treating it as though it’s any other game in the season, because we want to finish as high as we can.
“We’ll look to get the win and work hard. We’ve got a gameplan for them which we think will get us three points.”
The aforementioned draw in the reverse fixture saw Jay score his first away goal for Saints, and it is a point he looks back on favourably now despite taking a 3-1 lead in the contest.
“We went ahead and then Stoke came back scoring with a great finish from Cameron Jerome,” Rodriguez recalled. “It was a strange game really but full credit to Stoke for getting the draw on the day.
“We managed to put three past them which was not an easy thing to do, but it was great play from us that got us the goals and hopefully we can do that again on Sunday.
“It’s always a hard place to go to up at Stoke so we were pleased to get a point, but on the day we were actually disappointed not to get all three.
“Getting a point though has proved useful as we’re safe now and hopefully we can push on with a win this time.”
Jay has contributed a total of nine goals in his first season at St Mary’s including a memorable run of scoring in three successive matches against Liverpool, Chelsea, and Reading during March and April, but without a goal since the trip to the Madejski, Rodriguez is eager to end the campaign on a high.
“Towards the end it’s been more positive,” he surmised.
“I’d have liked a few more goals, but I’ll keep working hard to try and improve for next season.”
The frontman also paid tribute to Saints’ Player of the Year, Morgan Schneiderlin, claiming the Frenchman is a worthy winner of the award.
“It’s definitely deserved. He’s been class all year and great for us this season. He’s a great guy as well off the pitch, so it’s nice for him to win the awards.
“He’s very strong in midfield and a great passer of the ball. He picks the game up as well when we need to and he’s got some important goals too he’s a great finisher from midfield.
“It’s a pleasure to play alongside him.”