Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday November 14 2008
15th November 2008
Well, they don't come much bigger or harder as this as the Potters prepare to make the short trip up the M6 to Old Trafford for Saturday's match against the European and Premier League Champions.
When we won promotion back in May, this would have been at the top of Stoke fans most anticipated games, but whether you're relishing the chance to watch the Stoke City players walk out at Old Trafford or nervously listening to Big Nig Johnson's commentary on Radio Stoke then you'll know we've finally arrived in the Premier League.
The Potters have nothing to fear as we know that we can mix it with the big boys as we've shown with wins against Aston Villa and Arsenal and that draw at Anfield. Although we all know that Man United are a step above even these with the likes of Berbatov, Rooney and Ronaldo - just to name three...
Tony Pulis reckons that this is one for the chairman, Peter Coates, after he has bankrolled the Potters' promotion run since buying out the Icelanders two years ago. He told the media: 'When I came back to the club no-one thought we would get here. I will take great pride in seeing the chairman sitting in the directors' box watching his team play the greatest club in the world.'
Sir Alex Ferguson rested Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand in their midweek cup win over QPR and will all return along with Wayne Rooney who has recovered from a chest infection. No pressure then....!
I could have used a pin to pick any member of this United side, but have gone for the former Spurs striker who was signed for just under £31m on the 1st September and has started now to show his worth with five goals, but he's still behind Ronaldo with seven goals to his name.
Mamady Sidibe is likely to be available after recovering from an ankle injury at Wigan last Saturday but Pulis may choose not to gamble and to start with Dave Kitson after his good performance against Rotherham in midweek.
Rory is likely to be our weapon of choice and our best chance of an upset, but you can be sure that Ferguson has been trying to prepare his team for the aerial bombardment. Let's hope that he has as much success as Arsene Wenger.
It's 32 years since we won at Old Trafford, courtesy of a single goal from Alan Bloor in 1976.
Saturday 22nd November: West Brom (home) kick-off: 3pm
Satruday 29th November: Hull City (home) kick-off: 3pm
Date:Friday November 14 2008
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