Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday March 3 2006
March 4th 2006
Stoke make the long cross country trek to Norwich this weekend as they seek to capitalise on their win last week against Millwall. Hopefully Stoke are coming out of a thin vein of form and can make the most of one the League's other underperforming clubs and snatch three points at Carrow Road.
Johan Boskamp has had words with Paul Gallagher after last week's match, explaining to him that any goal counts.
'Sometimes he should shoot straight,' said the Bos, 'but he always wants to make a nice goal with a curling shot. I tell him that ugly goals count also.'
Norwich have recently lost former Crewe player, Dean Ashton, to West Ham but quickly sunk the money back into the squad by buying Rob Earnshaw from West Brom for £3.5m.
Earnshaw will start alongside former Potter, Peter Thorne, who moved from the bright lights of South Wales to the even brighter lights of Norfolk in the summer.
Any team in the Championship that is prepared to splash out £3.5m for a striker needs him to deliver.
Darren Huckerby is also dangerous when in form. Luckily for Stoke, he was sent off in our last encounter with Norwich earlier this season.
For Stoke, Sammy Bangoura (plus plaster cast on his broken hand) will start upfront. Mamade Sidibe is out after having an operation on Monday to correct his broken nose. Carl Hoefkens and Dave Brammer are both suspended for the game after reaching five yellow cards, but Peter Sweeney will play after the back trouble that caused him to be substituted last week was not as bad as first feared. Darel Russell and Paul Gallagher should also both start after appearing as substitutes last week
With or without a plaster cast, he should be a threat. If Paul Gallagher can also repeat last week's performance, then things could get interesting.
Stoke won the first round this season, with an emphatic 3-1 win at the Brit back in August.
But both sides are locked together at 12 wins apiece in their 32 meetings.
If our defence can hold together again (and its been getting far better now that Clint Hill is back), then a Stoke win has to be on the cards.
Tuesday 7th March: v Wolves (AWAY) Kick-off 7.45pm
Monday 13th March: v Crystal Palace (HOME) Kick-off 7.45pm (Sky TV)
Date:Friday March 3 2006
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