Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday September 14 2007
After a two week break, the Potters are back in action with a trip to Hull which promises to be a match to remember. Hull have had a slow start to the season, ending up with a 2-1 defeat at Blackpool, but in an attempt to bolster confidence with team and fans alike have signed ageing midfielder, Jay-Jay Okocha on a 12 month contract.
It's been called a grudge match with the return of Jon Parkin to his former club and Richard Cresswell who turned down a contract in the summer with the Tigers after completing the medical. In the middle of each controversy was Tigers' manager, Phil Brown and Parkin has now said that all the problems he had towards the end of his last season at the club were down to Brown: 'Well we got on quite well at first but when he sent me here he said some derogatory things about me on the radio and we never really spoke much after that.
'It was good up until I came here [Stoke] and then I was called back which was obviously disappointing but those things happen in football.
'For some reason they called me back and decided not to play me but I think it was to save face more than anything else.
'Hull were struggling to stop in the league and one of their players is scoring goals at another Championship club who were a point outside the play-offs so I think that was why.
'I said to him if you want me to play I'll play, but I'll play for the rest of the team and not for you.'
The Tigers have added Henrik Pederson and Caleb Folan as well as Okocha to the squad and it's likely that they will make an appearance during the match to satisfy the likely large home crowd. Folan was carried off in his debut at Bloomfield Road, but has now been passed fit to play.
Although now 34 years old and likely to be in his final season of professional football, if he's match fit he's the one to watch.
Although Parkin has raised the ante for the match, he will probably start from the bench again if Pulis sticks to Fuller and Sidibe up front. In defence, Carl Dickinson could be out after injuring his ankle in training but Lewis Buxton is now fully fit and available. Dominic Matteo has been struck down with flu but should be ok, Jody Craddock will play after he was forced to sit out the Wolves match two weeks ago. The gaffer will make a late decision on Gabriel Zakuani as he has only just returned from international duty. Although new signing, Demar Phillips had a good run-out with the reserves on Tuesday, Pulis may decide it's too early for him to start, but he may get a position on the bench. With three matches now in the next seven days, Pulis may surprise us all and switch things around in order to try and rest key players.
Whether he's on the bench or starting, the Beast has made sure that he'll be the centre of attention.
Last season's fixture saw the Potters win 2-0 with goals from Higginbotham and Russell.
Tue 18th Sept: Barnsley (home) kick-off: 7.45pm
Sat 22nd Sept: Plymouth (home) kick-off: 3pm
Sat 29th Sept: Leicester (away) kick-off: 3pm
Date:Friday September 14 2007
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