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Potters will need to dig deep for victory

Potters will need to dig deep for victory

Another defeat and further suspensions ahead of tomorrow's Midlands derby against Birmingham means that there is little Christmas cheer around the Brit at the moment.

Stoke went down to their third consecutive away defeat at Eastlands yesterday. Two goals in the first half - one from Petrov just before the half hour and the second scored by Tevez deep into added on time at the end of the first half meant that the Potters have only collected a single point so far in December. But you have to balance that with the fact that the match tomorrow will only be our third home fixture since the start of November.

There were a few sparks of hope in the match. Tuncay had a good chance after 20 minutes but the home side were saved by Given's block and overall the Potters' commitment deserved more. Beattie and Fuller came on in the second half for Tuncay and Sidibe and James Beattie had a point-blank shot saved by Given. Robert Huth also saw his header from Matty Etherington's corner kick go narrowly wide, whilst a better connection from Danny Higginbotham might have meant his shot was also able to test the keeper.

The Potters will need to be on their guard for tomorrow's visit of the Blues to the Brit. Birmingham are on a good run at the moment that has seen them unbeaten since the middle of October and they held Chelsea to a goalless draw at St. Andrews yesterday.

Stoke will have to make do without the services of Glenn Whelan and Salif Diao after they picked up their fifth yellow cards and an automatic one match ban. It's to be hoped that Ryan Shawcross is fit after he missed the match yesterday as doubts surround Andy Wilkinson who had to be substituted with an ankle injury and Robert Huth also injured his knee.

Whilst Stoke have managed to maintain 11th spot in the league, the poor run means that the chasing pack are getting very close with six clubs within three points of us.

A win tomorrow would do wonders.....

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Writer:Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday December 27 2009
Time: 4:08PM

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