West Brom boss Tony Pulis is envious of former club Stoke’s embarrassment of riches.
The Baggies boss has been impressed by the Potters and Mark Hughes’ squad building ahead of Saturday’s game at The Hawthorns.
Pulis managed Stoke between 2002 and 2005, before returning 12 months later for a seven-year stay.
Hughes succeeded him in 2013 and, having guided the Potters to ninth last term, has them 10th this season, just one point off the top six.
“When you look at the three (forwards) they’re playing and then you look at the bench – (Mame Biram) Diouf’s not playing, (Peter) Crouch is not playing (Jonathan) Walters is not playing,” Pulis told a press conference. “You go on and on and on.
“They’ve got a real strong squad. They finished in the top 10 last year and have added to that.
“They’ve put a strong squad together so we know it will be a tough game.
“I look forward to it, hosting my former club – results have shown than this year there’s not a big a gap as there normally is.”
The Baggies will assess Jonas Olsson and Victor Anichebe’s hamstring complaints while Salomon Rondon and James McClean serve the final game of their bans, meaning Saido Berahino could start after eight straight games as a substitute.
Albion’s squad is thin without the quartet and Pulis wants to strengthen in a transfer window which he expects to be full of big spending at the top and bottom of the Barclays Premier League.
“It’s as competitive as it’s ever been,” Pulis, who has long been trailing QPR’s Matty Phillips, said.
“Everyone will be trying to strengthen in the window to finish in the top half where they want to be or to make sure they are outside of the bottom parts where it’s important for clubs.”