Hull vs Stoke preview
Saturday 9th May 2009
Into the final, final run-in now with just three games to go and a visit to Hull who are sliding slowly towards the relegation door with only one win (at Fulham) since early December. The only thing that is preventing a quick return to the Championship for the Tigers is the even worse performance of the three teams below them. A win against the Tigers will mathematically secure a Premier League position for the Potters next season. Even if that proves too much, a draw in Newcastle and Middlesborough's Monday night match will do the job for us.
Tony Pulis is treating this game just like any other this season and rightly refusing to get drawn into any talk of being safe:
'Every time you put that shirt on, you should be going out to win the game and we'll be doing that on Saturday.'
Hull City Team News:
Caleb Forlan is still suspended after being red-carded the other week. Skipper, Ian Ashbee is out after rupturing a posterior cruciate ligament in Monday night's 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
Player to watch: Geovanni
The Brazilian international joined the Tigers from Man City last summer and although he's scored eight goals so far has failed to help his club's slide down the table since Christmas.
Stoke City Team News:
James Beattie looked distinctly off the pace in the 1-0 defeat against the Hammers last week and will have a fitness test before facing the Tigers. But Liam Lawrence looks like he may be fit despite having to skip training for some of this week with a hip problem.
Player to watch: Ryan Shawcross
Will this lad ever stop growing? He told the media this week that he's grown another 5mm in just the last month and is now six foot, five inches which is causing him some muscle problems. Despite a difficult start to the season, the 21 year old has now adjusted to life in the Premier League and he's now one of Pulis' stalwarts in defence.
Match Facts & Stats
Howard Webb (again!) We only had Webb three weeks ago for the match against Blackburn at the Brit and he didn't cover himself in glory so we'll give him this game to make amends.
Saturday 16th May: Wigan (home) kick-off: 3pm
Sunday 24th May: Arsenal (away) kick-off: 4pm