Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday August 25 2006
Plymouth Argyle make the trip north on Saturday to the Potteries with both sides intent on banishing the mid-week Carling Cup blues. Both sides fell prey to lower league opposition with Plymouth going out to Walsall 1-0 whilst the Potters managed to lose 1-2 to a 10 man Darlington side.
Both managers will be hoping that their early cup exits will have a positive effect on their players. The other added ingredient for a lively game is the acrimonious departure of Tony Pulis from Home Park back to his former club during the summer which will no doubt keep the travelling Green Army in the South Stand in a noisy mood during the game.
Tony Pulis is looking forward to the game as he sets his sights back on the Championship: 'We've got to show that Darlington was a blip. We all know we can play better.'
Meanwhile Plymouth manager and Sky's Soccer AM favourite, Ian Holloway has tried to take the focus off the touchline: 'It's Plymouth Argyle versus Stoke City, not Ian Holloway versus Tony Pulis.'
Pulis looks set to bring back Carl Hoefkens, Dave Brammer and Luke Chadwick as he puts his strongest available team back on the pitch. Danny Higginbotham will have a late fitness test. Whether he will risk Sam Bangoura on the bench is still doubtful after his 45 minute run out for the reserves on Wednesday night as the manager has questioned the striker's fitness.
Plymouth fans, at least, will be watching our new striker with interest as Pulis snatched him from under their noses in pre-season after a loan spell at Home Park last season.
Plymouth are lying in 9th spot and they must be pleased with a reasonable start to the season. They travel to the Brit with a full strength squad with youngster Ryan Dickson replacing the transfer listed Bojan Djordjic. Defender, Paul Connolly and midfield player, Lee Hodges have both been passed fit.
The former Millwall striker joined the Green Army in the Summer for £100,000 and has already started to pay that back with two goals in the first three games.
This is only the third time the two clubs have met at the Brit with nothing much between the teams. In the two years since Plymouth reached the Championship, Stoke won 2-0 at home in 2004/5 and draw 0-0 last time. Last season, Plymouth beat the Potters down in Devon 2-1 and also drew 0-0 the previous year.
Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear)
Stoke should watch out as he has already issued 13 yellow cards in only three games.
Saturday 9th Sept: Barnsley (away) Kick-off 3pm
Tuesday 12th Sept: Sheffield Wed (away) Kick-off 7:45pm
Saturday 16th Sept: Burnley (home) Kick-off 3pm
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Date:Friday August 25 2006
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