Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday December 22 2006
The Potters will be looking to get back on winning ways with their second trip to the east coast in eight days and a visit to Ipswich.
Stoke fans will be hoping that last week's 3-0 defeat at Colchester was just a blip on an impressive run of form and another win will mean that they can go into the vital Christmas period full of confidence.
Danny Higginbotham is tipped to take over the captain's armband with the present incumbent suspended for Saturday's match. But manager, Tony Pulis was not giving anything away: 'Whoever I pick will be proud to take it'
Ipswich have hardly set the world alight this season under new manager Jim Magilton, but picked up two draws against Burnley and Cardiff this month and a 1-0 win at home to Leeds last week. Billy Clarke, Gary Roberts and Gavin Williams are all expected to be included in the squad even though they have not trained this week due to minor injuries.
The big Republic of Ireland international striker has netted nine times so far this season.
Salif Diao is a worry having not trained all week and missing last week's visit to Colchester. Tony Pulis will leave the decision to include him or not to the last minute.
Michael Duberry will miss the game through suspension having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last Saturday. Carl Dickinson will be hoping for a start having being recalled early from his loan period at Blackpool.
Big Mama will be hoping that he can get back onto scoring ways at Portman Road.
Last season's encounter at Portman Road in April saw the Potters romp home 4-1 victors. The game was heading for a 1-1 draw until the last ten minutes and then Stoke sealed the points with late goals from Bangoura, Chadwick and Russell.
Boxing Day: Sheffield Wed (home) kick-off: 3pm
Sat 30th Dec: Leeds (home) kick-off: 3pm
New Years' Day: Burnley (away) kick-off: 3pm
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Date:Friday December 22 2006
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