Stoke vs Everton preview
14th September 2008
Another big match for the Potters with Everton the visitors in front of a full house at the Brit and another example of the club's resurgence in the Potteries. In years gone by, a Sunday lunchtime kick-off in front of live TV cameras would have spelt the death-knell for any chance of a decent crowd, leading to offers of 'kid for a quid' etc, but with interest in the red and white half of the city never higher even this match seems destined for a sell-out.
If the home crowd can rekindle the atmosphere of the Villa match three weeks ago and the team responds, then we could be on for another great game with Everton just as keen as the Potters for the three points.
You've heard TP say it already and you'll hear him say it again many times this season: 'We've just got to make this place a fortress'.
Stoke City Team News:
Amdy Faye starts the first of a three match suspension for a two footed challenge at Middlesborough, but Tony Pulis has four new players ready to fill in. Danny Higginbotham, Michael Tonge and Ibrahima Sonko should start with Tom Soares likely to be given a place on the bench. The final prospective debutant, Andrew Davies is not yet match fit, but is hoping to be ready for the visit to Anfield next week. Andy Griffin is struggling with a slight calf injury and Thomas Sorensen didn't play for Denmark in midweek with a back injury, but may still be fit for the Toffees. If not, Steve Simonsen will be eager for a chance to play against his old club.
Player to watch: Danny Higginbotham
The popular former captain is back at the Brit just one year after leaving for the bright lights on Wearside. He should slot back into defence without difficulty, but it'll be interesting as to exactly which position Pulis plays him.
Everton Team News:
Carlo Nash will be on the bench after his move from Wigan and is sure of a good reception from Stoke fans after he did a good job at the Brit at the end of last season. Lars Jacobsen could be out for three months after dislocating his shoulder in Denmark's World Cup win against Portugal.
Player to watch: Marouane Fellaini
Fellaini was a late £15m buy from Standard Liege on deadline day and capped a quiet summer's dealing for the blue half of Merseyside.
Match Facts & Stats
A piece of Potters' trivia:
Who's the only member of Sunday's two squads who played in the last Stoke vs Everton match back in 2002?
Answer: Steve Simonsen
We'd have thought Staffordshire based ref, Alan Wiley was too local for a Potters' match, but obviously the Premier League consider Burntwood to be more Black Country than Potteries.
Sat 20th Sept: Liverpool (away) kick-off: 3pm
Tue 23rd Sept: Reading (home) kick-off: 7.45pm Carling Cup
Sat 27th Sept: Chelsea (home) kick-off: 3pm