Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday November 24 2006
The Potters start the most important four days of the season so far with the visits of the Baggies to the Brit on Saturday and Championship leaders, Cardiff City on Tuesday night. Both matches are being billed as a stern test of the new-look Stoke line-up and good results from both games will send the Potters into the vital December mid-season period in a promotion play-off position.
With the next few days likely to be Lee Hendrie's swan song, Tony Pulis has managed to get another player on loan from Villa Park. Patrik Berger has only made two appearances for Villa this season, but has a wealth of Premiership experience with Liverpool and Portsmouth and will hopefully prove a good replacement should Hendrie leave next week as expected.
With luck there will be a large travelling contingent and good home crowd for this Midlands derby and we have can have a match to remember.
New loan signing, Patrik Berger told the official site that he was relishing the chance to play some football: 'So when this opportunity came along I thought I would be great to take advantage of it and hopefully I can play a few games and help Stoke to continue playing well. This club has ambitions, at the moment they are looking to be in the top six and if they can get there at the end of the season you never know what can happen in the play-offs.'
Stoke are still without Ricardo Fuller who is serving the last game of his three match ban and Dave Brammer who has picked up his fifth booking of the season and a one match ban, but both will be available for selection on Tuesday night.
Tony Pulis will have the luxury of again picking from a nearly full squad and with Liam Lawrence and Patrik Berger both eager to make their home debuts, Pulis will have to disappoint someone before the match.
Should be flying on (possibly - but hopefully not) his last games for the Potters.
The Baggies have no selection problems with Greening and Grea back in the squad but Tony Mowbary is likely to stick with the same team that beat Burnley 3-0 last Saturday. Stoke will have to watch out for the two dangermen in midfield - Koumas and Kamara.
Has eight goals to his name this season.
West Brom have not won at Stoke for 24 years and were on the end of a 4-1 thrashing at the Brit on their last visit in May 2004. Let's hope that the game goes the same again this time.
Tues 28th Nov: Cardiff City (home) kick-off: 7:45pm
Sat 2nd Dec: Coventry City (away) kick-off: 3pm
Sat 9th Dec: QPR (home) kick-off: 3pm
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Date:Friday November 24 2006
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