Stoke vs Burnley preview
8th March 2008
The Potters arrive back at the Brit after two defeats on their travels. Nobody ever said that promotion was going to be easy and fans should always be braced for some upsets along the way, but the Potters are still in a great position for automatic promotion, sitting in third place just behind Watford on goal difference.
Saturday's visitors are Burnley and they are yet another on a run for the play-offs and currently sit in 9th position. Former Potters, James O'Connor and Ade Akinbiyi are still at Turf Moor in the wake of Steve Cotterill's departure earlier this season, but it's no longer the grudge match it used to be after the one-time Stoke manager poached several Potters players some years ago.
Another crowd around the 20,000 mark will provide a big boost to the players and, all being well, we should enjoy the match.
Pulis still believes it's all to play for: 'the balls are all in the air and it's up to us to grasp them'
Stoke City Team News:
Chris Riggott should be contention for a starting place after a week's solid training to build up his fitness. Carlo Nash is available after joining form Wigan and will be challenging for the keeper's spot. Glenn Whelan is suspended for two matches, but Rory Delap is available again as is captain, Andy Griffin, who won his appeal for his sending off last Sunday.
Player to watch: Steve Simonsen
All eyes will be on the man between the sticks and it will be interesting to see if Simo keeps the number one spot or has to make do with a rare breather on the bench to make way for Carlo Nash.
Burnley Team News:
Joey Gudjonsson and captain Steven Caldwell are suspended. Mark Randall should take Gudjonsson's place while Stan Varga or David Unsworth will replace Caldwell.
Player to watch: Ade Akinbiyi
The former fans' favourite at the Brit is now in his second spell at Turf Moor and has had to be content with a place on the bench for most of this season, managing only nine starts in the League, but has still managed seven goals so far.
Match Facts & Stats
The last match at Turf Moor back in November ended in a goalless draw.
Tue 11th March: Norwich (away) kick-off: 7.45pm
Sat 15th March: Watford (away) kick-off: 3pm
Sat 22nd March: Blackpool (home) kick-off: 3pm