Writer: Lloyd Reddin
Date:Friday March 1 2013
2nd March 2013
Stoke City will go into their home fixture against West Ham with only one recognisable centre half, after Robert Huth begins his three match ban, after the Football Association took retrospective action against the German centre half after his off the ball incident with Fulham`s Phillipps Senderos. The 28-year-old seemed to strike the Swiss international in the face with a forearm.
Tony Pulis will be forced to deputise either Marc Wilson or Geoff Cameron at centre half to play alongside club captain Ryan Shawcross.
Pulis could also give a full debut to American international Brek Shea, as Matthew Etherington is losing the battle to be fit after injuring his back last weekend at Fulham, whilst striker Michael Owen will have to undergo a late medical on his injured Thigh.
Steven N`zonzi will play the fixture with a protective mask after breaking his nose in a clash with Dimitar Berbatov.
West Ham have injury problems of their own with club captain and leading goal scorer Kevin Nolan ruled out with a broken toe, whilst Mark Noble and James Tomkins are doubts with an arm injury and a heavy cold respectively.
Guy Demel should be fit after being forced off in the latter stages of West Ham`s 3-2 defeat to Tottenham but the game seems to have come too early for George McCartney.
Tony Pulis on who will partner Ryan Shawcross at centre half: "Either of them have a chance of playing there.
'Marc has played there a lot in the past for Portsmouth and Geoff has played there for the United States and for Houston.
West Ham Assistant Manager Neil MacDonald on Kevin Nolan: 'His toe is very, very sore. He's had problems with it all season really and he has been playing through the pain barrier. And he got a real good kick on it."
Geoff Cameron or Marc Wilson will fill in at centre half in place of the suspended Robert Huth, which will see either Charlie Adam or Andy Wilkinson come into the starting eleven. Brek Shea or Michael Kightly will replace the injured Etherington on the left wing, whilst Michael Owen will face a late fitness test for a place on the bench.
Has come in for a lot of stick from the club`s fans for his below the par performances of late, but the thick skinned striker/midfielder always puts in a 100% and it wouldn`t be a surprise if he scored tomorrow.
All eyes will be on the Republic of Ireland international if Stoke are awarded a penalty after missing his last two spot kicks.
Matthew Taylor could come into replace club captain Kevin Nolan, whilst Demel should play although Jack Collison waits in the wings if he is needed.
The player is always a threat and has been harshly treated after his inflated transfer to Liverpool. The England international will be a serious test for Stoke`s makeshift defence, and ignoring his threat and aerial superiority could be extremely costly for the Potters.
Stoke have won only one of their last seven league home matches to West Ham
Have only scored one goal from outside the box all season
Have won only one game since Boxing Day
Have only lost one home Premier League game this season
Haven`t won in the league since November
Have only earned one point from possible last 24 away from home
Jonathan Moss is the man in the middle.
Stoke will be looking to come away with all 3 points after a disappointing spell of late, and with West Ham low on form also, and a few injuries to key players, Stoke should prevail. Stoke City 2-0 West Ham
Stoke- Newcastle (Away)
West Ham- Chelsea (Away)
Date:Friday March 1 2013
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