Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Saturday April 24 2010
25th April 2010
There's no pressure on the Potters and I'd like to think that the Stoke players' mindset will be how to cause an upset in the title race rather than looking forward to their summer holidays.
We always knew that the run-in would be critical if we hadn't already guaranteed our survival, but with Chelsea and Man United both still neck and neck in the chase for the title, both sides will be desperate not to drop any points and TP is hopeful that this will play into our hands now that the pressure is off us. He told the press this week:
'We've got a chance of causing an upset but we also know that, as with any side in the top five or six, if they get it right in the final third of the pitch, there is always the chance that you could end up getting your backside slapped.'
Stoke City official site
Chelsea are without their skipper, John Terry after his sending off last week for earning two yellow cards in their 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane. But they'll be boosted by the likely return of Ashley Cole for his first start since breaking his ankle back in February. Drogba is another who should be available after recovering from a groin problem.
Drogba scored in their 2-1 win at the Brit back in September and it should go without saying that he's always a major threat.
We're still unbeaten on our travels this year, but this will be a huge mountain to climb if we're going to come away with that record intact. Ricardo Fuller is likely to regain his starting slot up front with Tuncay back on the bench, although TP is adamant that his potential demotion has nothing to do with his public strop last weekend. Matty Etherington is another player who is now fully fit and should also start. But doubts still surround the likelihood of a start for Ryan Shawcross despite now being fit after his ankle injury.
Matty is one of the front-runners for next Sunday's player of the season award and a good performance after his recent injury problems would be a great end to the season.
We should have had Steve Bennett last week at the Brit, but he wasn't able to fly back from Europe and we had to make do with yet another dreadful performance from the replacement official. He's been good news for us so far this season as he's overseen victories over Burnley, Man City and Blackburn.
Sat 1st May: Everton (home) kick-off: 3pm
Wed 5th May: Fulham (away) kick-off: 8pm
Sun 9th May: Man United (away) kick-off: 4pm * SKY TV
Date:Saturday April 24 2010
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