Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday November 23 2007
24th November 2007
Hopefully this will be just the game for Stoke fans to put a dismal week for English football behind them and join in the celebrations at Turf Moor in another great away win for the Potters.
This match may have lost the edge of recent years with the recent departure of one-time Stoke manager, Steve Cotterill from Burnley, who are now also without former Potters' players Gifton Noel-Williams and Wayne Thomas, but they've still got Ade Akinbiyi and James O'Connor, even if they can muster only three league starts this season between them.
The Clarets will be ringing the changes by not playing in Claret and Blue, as they celebrate their 125th Birthday, but in blue and white. They've also got a new manager in Owen Coyle, who has joined from Scottish Division One club, St Johnstone.
What more an incentive do Stoke need to ruin their day?
The Potters seem to be making a habit of clashing with other clubs' home managerial debuts. First Megson, then Warnock and now Coyle and Tony Pulis is reminding his team not to underestimate the power of a new opposition broom.
'It will be another difficult game for us because the players will be desperate to make a good impression on the new manager.' He told the official site.
'They will all be giving an extra ten percent but we now what to expect, and have got to deal with it.'
Aging defender, David Unsworth is back after a one match ban. Captain, Steven Caldwell is out for another month with a thigh injury. Michael Duff and striker Besart Berisha are also out injured.
Already with ten goals in League and Cup this season, Gray looks well on his way to beating his fourteen goal tally last season.
Jon Parkin has been suffering with flu and is a doubt. Dominic Matteo should be back after recovering from injury, but the Potters are without Ricardo Fuller, who is serving a one match ban. At least Liam Lawrence is back from his own one match ban.
The big Mali striker is now fully recovered from the ordeals of international duty and may start alongside Richard Cresswell up front?
Big Mama scored the winner at Turf Moor back on a bleak night up in the Lancashire moors last January.
Tuesday 27th November: QPR (home) kick-off: 7.45pm
Saturday 1st December: Norwich City (home) kick-off: 3pm
Tuesday 4th December: Sheffield United (away) kick-off: 7.45pm
Date:Friday November 23 2007
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