Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday November 17 2006
Stoke travel to Humberside on Saturday as they attempt to make it back-to-back away wins after their 1-0 victory at Palace last weekend.
Hull have had a poor start to the season having been languishing at the foot of the Championship, but with decent wins against Southend and Wolves and a draw away at Southampton have now dragged themselves just out of the relegation zone. Therefore it's high time that the Potters brought them back down to reality.
Tony Pulis has been venting his frustration with FIFA over this week's international fixtures which saw Carl Hoefkens, Ricardo Fuller, Mama Sidibe and Sam Bangoura all jetting off to play for their countries: 'Training is a bit of a mish-mash when people are away like this,' Pulis complained.
'You can't do any real work with the team. You want to prepare players to get their minds set, not leave it to the last minute on the day before the game. You can bet Hull have been preparing all week, whereas ours turn up a bit like a pub side at the last minute.'
The Tigers are suffering from an outbreak of injuries.
Striker, Jon Parkin is out after suffering ligament damage in their 2-0 win against Wolves and may be out for up to 12 weeks. He may be replaced by Nicky Forster playing up front on his own. Former Stoke loan player, Danny Mills has returned to Manchester City after also suffering an injury. There are also mixed fortunes for ex Vale players, Sam Collins and Steve McPhee. Collins is out for the rest of the reason with a knee injury, but McPhee, whilst not likely to figure in the match, has played his first match in 14 months for the reserves.
The former Reading player, who was signed from Ipswich in August, has made little impact so far and will be hoping that he can now show the Tigers' manager, Phil Parkinson that he's still up to the job.
With Luke Chadwick now departed to East Anglia, Pulis will have to shuffle around to fill the vacant slot - probably by bringing in Dave Brammer. However, after all the rumours about Lee Hendrie and Andy Griffin making early exits from the Brit, no news is good news and both will be putting on Stoke shirts against the Tigers.
With Ricardo Fuller still suspended it is likely that Pulis will put Vincent Pericard up front again alongside Mama Sidibe.
Hull fans had been getting very excited at the prospect of Villa recalling Hendrie, so won't be pleased to see him at the KC Stadium.
Last season's fixture saw a Paul Gallagher goal clinch all three points for the Potters at the KC. But fortunes were reversed at the Brit in January as Stoke lost 3-0 - a game that will be remembered for penalty misses by Gallagher and Chadwick and a Russell own goal.
Sat 25th Nov: WBA (home) kick-off: 3pm
Tue 28th Nov: Cardiff (home) kick-off: 7.45pm
Sat 2nd Dec: Coventry (away) kick-off: 3pm
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Date:Friday November 17 2006
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