Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday January 26 2007
After a roller coaster week on the transfer market which has seen Salif Diao and Lee Martin arrive and the Potters just miss out (for now?) on Lee Hendrie but get to keep Carl Hoefkens, the Potters turn their attention to the FA Cup and an interesting draw against Premiership side Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Fulham narrowly squeezed into the fourth road thanks to a 89th minute winner in their 4-3 win over Leicester in the replay last week and if they think this game is going to be any easier then they may well have to think again. Over 2,000 Stoke fans are expected to make the trip to the capital and fans and team should be buoyed up after Tuesday's win against Burnley and the midweek signings.
Tony Pulis, as always, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground as he contemplates being able to test his promotion contenders against Premiership opposition: 'The Premiership table shows Fulham are the eleventh best team in the country and they have got players of exceptional quality.
We will have to be at our best to beat them but it is a one-off game and anything can happen. That's the beauty of the FA Cup.'
New signing, Vicenzo Montella is in line for his first start for the club with Heidar Helguson suspended.
Manager Chris Coleman will also be without Collins John who has had to return home to Holland for personal reasons. Goalkeeper Anti Niemi is named in the squad but is not deemed fit enough to start.
33 years old and still a regular in the US international team, McBride has scored seven goals this season.
There are no fresh injury concerns with Tony Pulis able to pick from the same squad that triumphed over Burnley in mid-week and having the luxury of the new signings, Salif Diao and Lee Martin, available to stir the selection pot.
The versatile winger has impressed all those who have seen him this season. Although not yet 20, he seems destined for greater things in the Manchester United first team and, just like Ben Foster, Alex Ferguson thinks a spell in the Championship will help him along.
Last meeting between the two clubs was way back in 1999 and they've never met before in the FA Cup.
Tue 30th Jan: Ipswich Town (home) kick-off: 7.45pm
Sat 3rd Feb: Southend (home) kick-off: 3pm
Sat 10th Feb: Birmingham City (away) kick-off: 12 noon
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Date:Friday January 26 2007
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