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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 13:13 UK

Stoke spirit persuaded Whitehead

Dean Whitehead
Whitehead made his Stoke debut in the 2-1 defeat at Preston on Saturday

Stoke City's new signing Dean Whitehead says that the team spirit at the club was the main reason for his move to the Britannia Stadium.

"The lads have got a great spirit here at Stoke and hopefully I can fit into that," Whitehead told BBC Radio Stoke.

"I spoke to Liam Lawrence and Danny Higginbotham a couple of times, and it obviously helps knowing people here."

The midfielder, 27, joined City from Sunderland on Friday for an initial fee of £3m, which could rise to £5m.

The former Black Cats captain added: "I spoke to the manager (Tony Pulis) a couple of times as well and he was a big influence.

"He's got big plans for this place, hopefully we'll be progressing and hopefully I can be a part of that."

Whitehead, who made his Potters debut in the 2-1 defeat at Preston on Saturday, admitted it was a difficult decision to leave Sunderland, where he had spent five seasons following his switch from Oxford.

"I don't think (new Sunderland manager) Steve Bruce was too keen on me leaving, but I wanted a fresh start," he said.

"We came to an agreement, and here I am now at Stoke."

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