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Kenwyne Jones is looking forward to starting his season all over again when Aston Villa come to the Britannia on Monday (8pm), writes Michael Baggaley.

The striker's home debut is also his chance to play injury free after a false start to his Stoke career since his club-record £8 million move from Sunderland last month.

The 25-year-old made an explosive start, hitting the bar after a powerful run on the opening day at Wolves, but that was all we saw before Jody Craddock's 10th-minute tackle put the striker out of the game with an ankle injury.

Jones gamely turned out at Chelsea two weeks later but was clearly less than fully fit as he led the line for 68 minutes in City's battling 2-0 defeat.

He said: "It's difficult because you don't want to be playing games like that – or any game in the Premier League – halfway fit. But I had to give it a go and I came through a decent amount of time. Hopefully I can push on even more on Monday night.

"I think the international break came at the best time for me. It gave me time to get fit.

"I guess my season starts on Monday night."

Jones's willingness to play through the pain barrier at Stamford Bridge was an early response to the mixed references which followed him from Sunderland.

Black Cats manager Steve Bruce had no doubt about the talent which prompted Spurs to offer £17m for Jones in January 2009.

But Bruce also made no secret of his frustration that Jones didn't produce more consistently.

However, the striker has no intention of being dragged into a war of words with his old boss.

He added: "Things happen in football. You know when there's a time for change, and that time did come.

"I'm not bothered about what happened before – I'm looking forward to tomorrow and doing what I can today."

Jones has played for Stoke before at the Britannia, having spent three months on loan at the end of the 2004-05 season.

But he might not recognise the place on Monday night, considering his last game at the Brit was a 1-0 home defeat by Watford in the Championship, suffered by 15,000 fans.

A close to sell-out home crowd could be welcoming three other new signings as manager Tony Pulis weighs up whether to start with Marc Wilson, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jermaine Pennant.

If we are to read much into the line-ups for Tuesday's friendly with Crewe, then right-winger Pennant will start on the bench.

The prospect of Pennant competing with the impressive Jon Walters for a place on the right suggests some of the burden for creating chances will be lifted from last season's player-of-the-year, left-winger Matthew Etherington.

Jones added: "Being able to have that type of quality is going to help any striker. Hopefully that will tell and I'll be able to score some goals."

The striker's record at Sunderland of 26 Premier League goals in 82 starts and 12 substitute appearances would certainly be acceptable at Stoke, whose league top scorer last season was Etherington with five.

Pulis made improving his attacking options his priority this summer and has certainly delivered.

No wonder the manager is confident about regaining ground in the table after City's three opening Premier League defeats by Wolves, Tottenham and Chelsea.

After back-to-back games against Champions League sides, at least City face a more reasonable challenge over the next five weeks with home games against Villa, West Ham and Fulham (in the Carling Cup), before a trip to Newcastle is followed by a home clash with Blackburn and a visit to Bolton.

Jones concluded: "We have three home games coming up and Stoke are strong at home.

"Hopefully we'll be able to kick the season off with some points against Villa on Monday night."