Stoke FA Cup preview
24th February 2010
Man City make their second visit in eight days to the Brit with the FA Cup fifth round replay. There's no doubt that the Potters will be keen to finally get a positive result as compensation for some dreadful referring last week that deprived us of two points in the League. There is no chance that this encounter is going to end all square with extra time and penalties available to decide who will make the trip to Stamford Bridge in ten days time.
The Potters' unbeaten run now stretches to ten games after Saturday's win over Pompey and this combined with last week's draw with Mancini's men has boosted cup interest in the Potteries with well over 15,000 home-end tickets already sold.
It's always good to see a full house at the Brit and with the visitors likely to fill the South Stand, Big Tone is hoping for a decent turn-out to maximise our traditionally vocal home support: 'This one is different because it's now-or-never, winner-takes-all stuff,' he told The Sentinel.
'It's got to be decided one way or another this time and I see two teams both desperate to get through to the next round, make no mistake about that.
'I'm hoping our fans turn out in force. If they do, I know they'll give us the kind of support we'll need to try to carry us through.'
Stoke City Team News:
Andy Wilkinson and Abdoulaye Faye are both suspended with Danny Higginbotham still an injury doubt giving Pulis some tough decisions on his defensive options. Better news is the surprise return to fitness of Matty Etherington, but we'll have to wait to see if he's ready to start on Wednesday or if he'll be saved for the Gunners' visit on Saturday.
Player to watch: Salif Diao
He may have won the match for us on Saturday and for that we're really grateful, but most fans will still be hoping that he sees out the cup match from the bench.
Man City Team News:
The good news is that Carlos Tevez is still away in Argentina after the premature birth of his daughter. Craig Bellamy is back in training after his injury lay-off but we'll have to wait and see if he makes the starting eleven. Patrick Vieira is banned after he kicked Glenn Whelan where it hurts last week.
Player to watch: Shaun Wright-Phillips
SWP was the one Man City player who really caused us any problems last week. Mancini has promised to change tactics to counter our supposed 'aerial threat', so we'll have to see where that leaves the diminutive winger.
Match Facts & Stats
Steve Bennett. But is he really any better than Wiley or Dean? We really hope so....
Sat 27th February: Arsenal (home) kick-off: 5.30pm * SKY SPORTS