Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday January 31 2010
Stadium of Light
Monday 1st February
It was a good weekend for Potters' fans even though we've had to make do with watching those around us playing instead of Stoke. No one outside the top nine managed any more than a point so we go to the North East knowing that three points will move us above Blackburn and Fulham into tenth spot.
Tony Pulis revealed this week that his front row rotation policy appears to be bearing fruit. When asked by the media if he thought that Fuller and Sidibe were his favoured pairing up front he said. 'No, I think you'll see us chop and change a little bit with the forwards.
'We have given Ric a couple of games off and he's come back and he looked bright, sharp and ready to go.
'We've got good players up there and we want to use them in the right way'
Sunderland's poor run of form continued with a 2-0 defeat in midweek at home to Everton. Amazingly, they've only won twice in the league since September and haven't seen three points since the 1-0 win over Arsenal in November but did have a decent start to the season, hence the reason that they only sit just two points and one place behind us.
Lee Cattermole and Kieran Richardson are out following injuries they sustained in the midweek defeat at Everton.
Phil Bardsley (hamstring), Anton Ferdinand (ankle) and Michael Turner (knee) are all injured.
The Trinidad international played on loan for Stoke whilst at Southampton during Tony Pulis's first time in charge, so it was not surprising to see him hotly tipped to make a permanent move to the Brit in this transfer window. But Steve Bruce has since made it clear that he's not going anywhere despite finding himself on the bench in several recent games. Now that Kieran Richardson is injured he may get a start on Monday night.
Stoke should have a full squad to choose from with Abdy Faye fully recovered from a calf strain.
Thomas Sorensen remains in goal with no new keepers signed up before the weekend deadline.
After the victory over Arsenal in the cup last week, Mamady Sidibe and Ricardo Fuller could start again up front, with Tuncay on the bench.
Although steady and dependable since his summer move from the Black Cats, may be his time has now come after his first goal for the club last week. Sunderland fans didn't seem too happy to see Deano and Danny Collins leave the Stadium of Light in the summer for the brighter lights of Stoke and will have their first chance to welcome them back.
No nonsense ref, Howard Webb, is in charge
Saturday 6th Feb: Blackburn Rovers (home) kick-off: 3pm
Tuesday 9th Feb: Wigan (away) kick-off: 7.45pm
Date:Sunday January 31 2010
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