Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday January 1 2010
2nd January 2010
It's FA Cup third round time and the Potters have a tricky home tie against Blue Square Premier side, York City.
The Minstermen have already seen off Crewe and Cambridge United in the first two full rounds of the Cup and a visit to a Premier League side will be a mouth-watering prospect to a side that are also running high in the league and unbeaten since the end of October. So there's likely to be a good atmosphere as 4,000 Minstermen have taken the whole of the South Stand and the Potters will need to tread carefully to ensure a vital victory.
To add some New Year spice to the match, York are managed by former Vale player and boss, Martin Foyle. He may not have won many friends in Burslem towards the end of his tenure there but he's done wonders at the Kit-Kat Crescent (how about that for a ground name?!) and Foyle's ready for Stoke:
'We are not mugs who are just going to launch it, as is said about most non-league teams. We can play, but we can mix it up as well.
'Some of the lads won't have played in front of crowds like this. They will be nervous, but we have to get that out of them.
'If we work together, anything can happen.'
Pulis will not be taking too many risks, but is likely to ring the changes and give Steve Simonsen a chance in goal. Ryan Shawcross is suspended but it's likely he'd have been left out in any case. Dave Kitson is back from loan at Middlesbrough and could start as the club hope to cash in on him in the January transfer window. Glenn Whelan and Salif Diao are also available again after their one match bans and could therefore get a start as well.
Whilst training ground altercations are rumoured to be behind Kitson's latest banishment to 'Boro there's no doubt that he was, by far, the star in the pre and early season scoring three goals before 'something' happened. Wherever his future lies, let's give the lad a chance to shine - heaven knows we're desperate for anyone to put the ball in the back of the net.
Foyle has the luxury of a near fully fit squad to select from with only Alan o'Hare definitely ruled out with an ankle injury.
Djoumin Sangare is, however, also likely to miss out as he continues his steady recovery from a muscle strain.
Whilst I can't claim much knowledge of the Minstermen there's not much doubt that Brodie is the one to watch. He's clocked up 25 goals already this season - more than our whole side has managed so far.
Tuesday 5th January: Fulham (home) kick-off: 7.45pm
Date:Friday January 1 2010
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