Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday February 25 2007
The Potters had a free weekend due to the visit of Barnsley in front of the Sky TV cameras. After the heroics at Pride Park they will be hoping that the 2-0 win will be just the tonic to drive them on to the play-offs.
Certainly defender, Carl Hoefkens hopes so. He told Stoke City World: 'We've now had a great win against Derby and that, especially mentally as given us a big boost, hopefully we can get a good run now.'
He also recognised the feeling of most fans after two recent poor performances against Luton and Southend: 'We haven't lost many at home, but recently we haven't won many either - we need to start breaking through teams who come here for a point. Once we can do that we have a very good chance, we desperately need the three points against Barnsley.'
The return of Vincent Pericard will add an extra option for Tony Pulis up front with Ricardo Fuller serving the second of his four match suspension. Jonathan Fortune has shrugged of his virus that allowed Gabriel Zakuani to make his first start for the Potters last Wednesday. But Fortune may have settle for the subs' bench as Zakuani seems to have made a good impression on Pulis.
When it comes to scoring goals, Big Mama has had an indifferent season, but on-one can doubt his work rate and his ability to get to the ball. A touch of luck tonight may be all that is needed to get the big Mali international back on proper scoring ways.
The Reds arrive at the Brit on the back of a vital 3-0 win against fellow relegation strugglers, Hull in midweek but still languish in the drop zone after the weekend's results. They follow hot on the heels of Luton and Southend and the Potters will hopefully have learnt from the last two home draws.
Keeper, Simon Davey returns after being taken off as a precaution in Tuesday night's win after an injury. Striker, Daniel Nardiello is suspended.
The Hungarian international was signed on transfer deadline day at the end of last month and has already scored three times for the Reds in only four appearances.
The match last September at Oakwell saw the Potters throw away another 2-0 goal lead to share the points on 2-2. Early goals from Hill and Chadwick were wiped out in the second half by a late Barnsley comeback.
Sat 3rd March: Plymouth Argyle (away) kick-off: 3pm
Sat 10th March: Southampton (home) kick-off: 3pm
Tue 13th March: Sunderland (away) kick-off: 8pm - Sky TV
Date:Sunday February 25 2007
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