Kightly hopes for Stoke improvement

The 27-year-old has struggled to hold down a starting position in Tony Pulis' side but is confident he can turn his form around and help his team to a finish in the top 10
Stoke City winger Michael Kightly hopes he can improve his form as the Potters head into the closing stages of the season.

The former Wolves midfielder made the move to Staffordshire last summer but has struggled to hold down a place in the starting XI under Tony Pulis after an impressive start at the club.

However, the 27-year-old has been pleasantly suprised at the lack of injuries that have come his way this campaign having suffered from numerous knocks in the early stages of his career, and hopes he can use that positivity to compete for a starting place.

"I've had no injuries this year, touch wood, and that has been absolutely fantastic for me obviously," he told he club's official website.

"I haven't missed one single training session yet this season, which is quite surprising to be honest, because as you well know I have had a few problems in my career.

"It's been an up and down season for me though for sure, because I haven't managed to nail down a regular spot in the team.

"That hasn't been down to injury though as I say, it's been for other reasons. I thought I started the season well, scored a couple of goals, and then lost my place.

"Since then I have struggled to get back into the team really, but hopefully with my injuries well and truly behind me, I can push on and get back to playing to the level that I know I am capable of."

Things have been difficult at the Britannia Stadium since the turn of the year, with the side dropping to 11th in the table after looking like serious contenders for a European place in 2012.

But Kightly insists the players are remaining positive about their chances of their first top half finish in the Premier League since the club's promotion in 2008.

"For one reason or another, things haven't gone quite so well for us since the New Year, but we are determined to turn it all around, because teams below us are closing in on us," he added.

"There are still eight or nine games to go though, so there are plenty of points out there for us to go and pick up.

"It's been a disappointing spell for us because over Christmas we were really flying and we were moving along really nicely.

"In a league as tough and as demanding as this though, it's almost impossible to keep things going for such a prolonged period of time. We just need to get that win and then look onwards and upwards."