Steven Schumacher doesn’t need telling what is at stake as Stoke City take on Plymouth Argyle

There were a couple of moments when Angela Smith let her colours slip as she fired questions at Steven Schumacher in his pre-Plymouth Argyle press conference.

It is a game which isn’t short on narrative, including Schumacher going up against a club where a lot of people are still sore he left to go to Stoke back in December, and a win for either side will push them to or past the magical 50-point barrier which many see as the target for Championship survival.

So the fact that Angela is a diehard lifelong Stoke fan as well as reporter didn’t go unnoticed as she, like plenty of fellow supporters, was almost pained to stress how much this fixture is a must-win.

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Schumacher was too well trained to say that himself but he didn’t need telling just how much will be at stake at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

He said: “There are three more games to go and we know the points tally we’ve already set out. There are nine points to play for. I think it’s important that, as I say every week, whatever happens we stick together, we’re never too high nor too low. It’s not going to be a disaster if the game doesn’t go how we want but obviously if we do win the game, it gives us a huge chance of staying up. It’s not lost on us, certainly, how important the game is.”

Stoke have come behind in three of their last four matches to rescue points but that still didn’t temper Angela’s next question – and whether Schumacher could make sure, even if just for her own nerves, that they started this one like a train.

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