Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday April 18 2008
19th April 2008
There can't be many Stoke fans who aren't planning a Saturday tea-time trip to the Brit this week as the Potters look set to have a near capacity crowd as well as the TV cameras for what has been billed as our most important game since moving into the Brit ten years ago.
A win against the Robins is absolutely vital if we're still to hang on to the dream of automatic promotion to the Premier League and the city is rising to the challenge of filling the Brit for the match.
Tony Pulis issued his own rallying call to fans this week:
'The supporters are part of the family and we are all in this together
'When there is over 20,000 people in this stadium it is absolutely rocking and it is so intimidating for other teams.
'I've said it before but the fans are so important to us.
'I know it's the easy option to put your feet up in front of the television at home or go down the pub with your mates, but the place they can really make a difference is here.'
There really was no need - who'd miss this game?
Stoke will be missing Andy Griffin, who tore his hamstring last week, but are being cagey about the fitness of Liam Lawrence and Shola Ameobi and both will have late fitness tests. Glenn Whelan is back after recovering from a dose of 'flu.
Barring a late catastrophe, we'd expect Liam to start after recovering from a groin injury. He came off the bench to score the winner in last week's victory at Coventry.
Former Port Vale player, Steve Brooker is now at Ashton Gate, which should give the Boothen End faithful a good vocal target.
The former Crewe and Coventry striker will be a handful at the Brit. He moved to Ashton Gate in January and has already scored five goals to add to the six he scored for the Sky Blues.
This is the Robins' first visit to the Brit since October 2000 in the old Football League Division 2.
Yet another Premier League ref, this time Mike Riley will be parading his cards in front of the cameras.
Sat April 26th: Colchester (away) kick-off: 3pm
Sun May 4th: Leicester (home) kick-off: 2pm
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Date:Friday April 18 2008
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