Stoke vs Man C preview
31st January 2009
Another lunchtime kick-off to suit the armchair fans sees Manchester City roll into town. The so-called 'richest club in the world' have found it difficult to splash the cash with the news that Kaka will not be giving us the pleasure of his company at the Brit. But the blue half of Manchester will still bring his Brazilian team mate, Robinho.
Tony Pulis will certainly be pleased that he's finally got his first home match for three weeks after two difficult away ties and a week's warm weather training in Dubai. He's certainly more confident of a better performance from the team when we're at home: 'We're a match for anyone at our place'.
'If we play to our strengths, make sure we get on the front foot and we're competitive, which we weren't against Tottenham, then we can match them.'
Stoke City Team News:
Early worries that Andy Wilkinson had broken his foot earlier this week have proved unfounded, but he may find his slot taken by Andy Griffin. Danny Higginbotham is out after nursing an injury for the past week or so. Abdoulaye Faye should be fit again after being sick during the Spurs clash on Tuesday. James Beattie will make his home debut and will hopefully find himself starting alongside Ricardo Fuller for the first time if he is given a start after playing 45 minutes on Tuesday. Liam Lawrence is another who is desperate to return after he has had to sit on the bench since returning from injury.
Player to watch: James Beattie
Beattie playing alongside Fuller will provide an interesting test of how the remainder of the season could go. If these two gel quickly then times will get a whole lot better for Potters fans.
Man City Team News:
Manchester City are banking on Shaun Wright-Phillips and Pablo Zabaleta shrugging off minor knocks but are without suspended skipper Richard Dunne who starts a four match ban. City's consolation signing, Craig Bellamy, will play his second game since joining from West Ham 10 days ago.
Player to watch: Robinho
The Brazilian scored a hat trick against the Potters at Eastlands earlier this season and is one person the Potters' defence will be keeping a close eye on
Match Facts & Stats
Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
Just two matches next month:
Saturday 7th Feb: Sunderland (away) kick-off 3pm
Saturday 21st Feb: Portsmouth (home) kick-off: 3pm