Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday February 5 2010
6th February 2010
The Potters returned from the north east on Monday night with a creditable point and a new keeper but failed to offload James Beattie to either Fulham or their hosts, Sunderland on the final day of the transfer window.
The visit of Sam Allardyce's Rovers team means that it's likely to be blood and thunder time down the Brit on Saturday and hopefully far more action than we saw at the Stadium of Light. There's everything to play for with Stoke just one place and two points behind Rovers, but the Potters have two games in hand.
Tony Pulis will be celebrating his 300th match in charge of the Potters whilst the club have designated the fixture as Stanley Matthews Day so hopefully we'll all have a lot to celebrate come 5pm.
Mamady Sidibe will be up for his 150th start if selected and the Mali international is also celebrating his new contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2012.
He told the official site: 'I am very happy here and so I didn't have to think twice about it when I was asked about a new contract. '
The best of my football has been here and the dreams I have achieved have been with Stoke.
Abdoulaye Faye is the only doubt after suffering a painful back spasm during the first half of the Sunderland match. We'd expect Thomas Sorensen to start with new signing, Asmir Begovic, taking Steve Simonsen's place on the bench.
Tommo has always had the reliable Simmo watching him from the bench, but Asmir's arrival at the Brit heralds a new era for the keeper's position at Stoke. Not only do we now have three potential first team keepers for the first time, but the 22 year old Bosnian will have big ambitions to wrestle the starting position off Sorensen at the earliest opportunity.
Rovers have now lost the services of Benni McCarthy to West Ham and failed to get Aruna Dindane in to replace him this week. The 29-year-old underwent a medical with Blackburn, before paperwork scuppered the deal ahead of Monday's 5pm deadline.
Midfielder Vince Grella returns to the squad after two months out with a thigh injury.
David Dunn and Lars Jacobsen remain injured, while new signing Yildiray Basturk is reported to not yet be match fit.
Rovers are still without the services of their influential top scorer, David Dunn. The Norwegian is the next highest one likely to feature with three goals so far this season.
Tuesday 9th Feb: Wigan (away) kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 13th Feb: Man City (away) kick-off: 5.15pm - FAC
Tuesday 16th Feb: Man City (home) kick-off: 7.45pm
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Date:Friday February 5 2010
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