Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Saturday March 1 2008
2nd March 2008
Stoke will aim to put Tuesday's defeat at Preston well behind them and travel to the capital to face Queens Park Rangers who lie in 16th place in the Championship.
Rangers have had a mixed season at home, typified by a 3-0 win against Stoke's fellow promotion hopefuls, Bristol City and then followed it up with a 4-2 defeat to Burnley during February.
A win, as always now, is vital to the Potters' automatic promotion ambitions and will help to steady a ship that was only slightly rocked by our second defeat in nineteen matches.
Liam Lawrence praised his boss after Tony Pulis was awarded the Championship Manager of the Month award. He told the official site: "He is very level headed, he gets on with all of the players and he knows how to get the best out of his lads.
He has done a fantastic job this season, he has brought in some outstanding players and that is why we are at the top of the table."
Midfielder Gavin Mahon is struggling to shake off a knee injury and he is still a doubt for the game.
Winger Gareth Ainsworth has recovered from a back problem, striker Rowan Vine is chasing a start and Damion Stewart could feature after being rested.
The Ghanaian international joined QPR from Preston in January and has managed eight goals in eight outings to add to the four he has scored for the Lilywhites.
Rory Delap is suspended and this may allow a start for Paul Gallagher in midfield. Russell Hoult has been recalled from his loan at Notts County to shadow Simonsen on the bench after Carlo Nash failed to sign on loan before the 24 hour deadline for new loan signings. New loan signing, Chris Riggott will be in the squad, but may have to make do with a place on the bench. Glenn Whelan can play, thanks to the '7 day rule', after picking up his 10th booking in the match at Deepdale in midweek.
On fire at the moment and fast catching up with Ricardo Fuller's tally of 14 goals. Liam heads the Actim Championship table as the best performing player.
A 3-1 victory at the Brit back in November secured all three points for the Potters, but most fans will remember the despair at Loftus Road in the last match of last season as they draw 1-1, but really needed a win and other results to go the Potters' way to secure a play-off place.
We don't need that again on Sunday.
Premier League ref, Andy D'Urso is officiating in front of the Sky TV cameras.
Sat 8th March: Burnley (home) kick-off 3pm
Tue 11th March: Norwich (away) kick-off: 7.45pm
Sat 15th March: Watford (away) kick-off: 3pm
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Date:Saturday March 1 2008
Ref Watch: Atkinson to officiate QPR v Stoke (Monday September 15 2014)
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Ref Watch: Olvier to officiate Stoke v Leicester (Monday September 8 2014)
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