Writer: Lloyd Reddin
Date:Friday November 2 2012
3rd November 2012
Stoke City will take the long jaunt to East Anglia to face struggling Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Both teams have struggled so far this season to pick up maximum points as they have only managed to notch up two victories between themselves.
Norwich have seen a recent upturn in form though, after an impressive home victory against Arsenal and a well-earned draw against former manager Paul Lambert`s Aston Villa side at Villa Park. Although Norwich still sit in 16th in the Premier League, only three points away from the drop zone.
After an impressive late show against Tottenham Hotspur in the league cup, Norwich will be in buoyant mood when Stoke arrive.
Stoke have drawn 10 out of their last 15 games in the Premier League including last season and have drawn 6 out the last 9 games this season, so the safe money would be on a draw at Carrow Road.
Stoke are unbeaten in their last 4 outings against Chris Hughton`s Norwich and could fancy their chances of gaining their first away victory of the season.
Tony Pulis on Marc Wilson`s injury: "It`s three months at least I think. But we are hoping, with the medical staff we have got and the way they overachieve in lots of respects, it might even be quicker than that - fingers crossed."
Chris Hughton on Stoke: "They are an excellent role model for the likes of ourselves.
'In this division after getting promotion you normally have a few tough years but they have improved every year and have brought in better quality every year.
'They are a very well established Premier League team now.
'I'm sure they couldn't bring in someone of the quality of Michael Owen six or seven years ago.'
Russell Martin is a doubt for Norwich with a back problem and might be replaced by Steven Whittaker at right back. Loanee Harry Kane is still a long-term injury after surgery on his foot.
The Norwich striker is a constant threat and has done it the hard way by playing in every league in the Football league, his experience is a necessity in his style of play and has been Norwich`s talisman to help them to back-to-back promotion and then helping them stay in the league last season.
The striker had a slow start to the season but has now scored 3 goals in his last 5, and the Stoke defence will have to keep the Englishman quiet if they want to come away from Carrow Road with anything.
Andy Wilkinson is likely to deputise at left back following Marc Wilson`s absent after breaking his left fibula against Sunderland last weekend.
Tony Pulis could bring back the fit again Glenn Whelan, who could replace Dean Whitehead in the Potters starting line-up. Pulis has also hinted that Matthew Etherington may get a start ahead of either Michael Kightly or Jonathan Walters.
The former England international is the normal name on the score sheet if low scoring Stoke do grab a goal.
A constant and tireless threat throughout the game gives the opponents defence a headache whilst the beanpole striker is on the pitch.
Crouch has already bagged 5 goals this season and will be out to add to that tally. Norwich will have to keep Crouch quiet if they want to add to their impressive recent form.
Norwich have only won once this season, scoring only seven goals; which means they are the joint-second lowest scorers, one goal ahead of Sunderland.
Norwich have lost just once in their last five outings in the league at Carrow Road.
Norwich have only lost three of their last 22 outings against Stoke.
Norwich have kept three clean sheets in their last five matches.
Stoke have drawn 10 of their last 15 Premier League games.
Stoke have only won one of their 15 Premier League games.
Stoke are unbeaten in four against Norwich, winning 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 with the Canaries last season.
Stoke have failed to win in their 14 away Premier League matches.
Andre Marriner Marriner has refereed 5 Premier League matches this season, handing out 16 yellow cards and no red cards. He was in charge of the Merseyside derby last weekend and chalked out Luis Suarez`s late goal controversially. This will be Marriner`s first game of the season refereeing either team.
With both side`s not taking their chances and looking strong at the back, I can`t see anything other than a goalless draw at Carrow Road. Hopefully I`m wrong, but I just can`t see it.
Queen`s Park Rangers (Home)
Date:Friday November 2 2012
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