Wilkinson Looking Forward to Mixing it Up with Birchall


Crew midfielder Chris Birchall was like a little kid on Christmas when he found out he'd be playing against his hometown club Stoke City on his first day of training with the Black & Gold.

"That just made my day,"  Birchall expressed with laughter upon learning the news back in May. "I just can't believe what you just said, really."

"Stoke is exactly where I lived. I know a lot of the Stoke players," he continued. "I get to share the field with my best friend."

Birchall's best friend is Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson. The Potters' right back seved as Birchall's best man at his wedding back in June and is godfather to Birchall's son, Ashley.

"The chances of (Birchall) coming from the other side of the world to play for a team, then for us through a preseason tour that we've never done before to come and play against him-- the chances are unreal," Wilkinson said after Stoke's Monday training session in Obetz.

The two have know each other since they were six, and have been best friends ever since. Wilkinson says they're both looking forward to getting the best of each other on the field Tuesday night.

"We've only played each other a couple of times," the Potter said.

"If there's a chance for a tackle, I'm sure neither of us will back out," Wilkinson said laughing.

The Crew and Stoke City kick off at 7:30PM EST from Crew Stadium.

For Birchall's take on the match, listen to the latest edition of the Sideline Sit Down.