Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday December 14 2007
15th December 2007
A capacity away following of 1,900 will be travelling to Blackpool as the Potters aim to make it six games unbeaten against the Championship newcomers who have struggled to make a big impact and are currently languishing in 18th position. Only recent wins against current relegation fodder, QPR and Preston have lifted the Seasiders up the table, but they came crashing back to earth last weekend with a home defeat against Cardiff and the Potters will be hoping that they can repeat the result on Saturday at Bloomfield Road.
Tony Pulis will be warning his troops to pay due respect and not take anything for granted. Whilst the Potters capped off a good last month with the goalless draw against high-flying Watford at the Brit last Sunday, most pundits believe this is a Stoke team punching above their weight. That sizable element of fans who believed that the lack of new players would leave the current squad struggling have been proved profoundly wrong and any newcomers in January should only help to push Stoke City on further.
Manager, Simon Grayson has striker Andy Morrell as an early doubt but hopes Wes Hoolahan will respond to treatment and should be able to name Bartosz Slusarski (on loan from West Brom), who has been struggling with an ankle injury
Blackpool will hope that the 6'3" Latvian defender will be tall enough to withstand Ricardo Fuller, Richard Cresswell and Mamady Sidibe, but he may have found his match in our high goal scoring defender, Ryan Shawcross.
Stoke are able to welcome back Ryan Shawcross and John Eustace after their one match bans. Carl Dickinson will know Bloomfield Road well after he spent time on loan at Blackpool with Andy Wilkinson last season. But Wilko may miss the trip as he tries to overcome a thigh problem.
Big Mama will be looking to take his mind off any future international plans as the Mali FA plan to meet up with him after the game to convince him to make the trip to the African Cup of Nations in Ghana at the end of next month.
A two goal lead in 2001 with a brace from Chris Iwelumo was not enough as Blackpool came back to draw 2-2.
A good solid performance from the Potters should be enough to take all three points. But we all know what can happen if they're not in exactly the right frame of mind....
Sat 22nd Dec: West Brom (home) kick-off: 3pm
Boxing Day: Barnsley (away) kick-off 3pm
Sat 29th Dec: Plymouth (away) kick-off: 3pm
Date:Friday December 14 2007
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