Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday April 3 2009
4th April 2009
Stoke make the short trip to West Brom on Saturday still keen to break that elusive first away win duck. The Baggies may have just beaten us to the Championship title at the end of last season but they are now propping up the foot of the Premier League a full eight points behind us. Having said that there is no doubt that we'll still have a real fight on our hands if we're going to continue to be their bogey team.
Certainly Tone is giving nothing away ahead of the clash against the other Tone (Mowbray): 'We'll go there with a positive frame of mind, but every game in the Premier League is a tough game and West Brom will be no different.'
Abdoulaye Meite is available after recovering from both illness and a hamstring injury, as is Youssouf Mulumbu.
Mowbray has said that he may stay with Jonas Olsson and Shelton Martis as his centre-half partnership for the third successive game, especially as Leon Barnett remains unavailable with a knee injury.
Many think we had a narrow escape when we failed to land Carson in the summer when he opted for what he thought was a 'better team'. As it was, we ended up with a first choice Danish international keeper in Thomas Sorensen.
Mamady Sidibe is likely to be ruled out for the rest of this year as he undergoes treatment for a cruciate ligament injury, so it will be James Beattie and Ricardo Fuller doing the business up front.
Abdoulaye Faye, Glenn Whelan, Stephen Kelly and Thomas Sorensen have been away on international duty but all seem to have arrived back fit. Ryan Shawcross had to pull out of the England U21 squad through injury but may be fit to start for the Potters.
Rory was back to his best for the game against Middlesbrough two weeks ago giving Ryan Shawcross the chance to glance his long throw home for the winner.
The match against the Baggies at the Brit back in November proved the perfect tonic to recover from a poor defeat at Old Trafford the week before. Big Mama's header was enough to give us all three points
Two mammoth home games coming up:
Saturday 11th April: Newcastle (home) kick-off: 5.30pm (Setanta TV)
Saturday 18th April: Blackburn (home) kick-off: 3pm
Date:Friday April 3 2009
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