Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Tuesday December 25 2007
Stoke will travel over the Pennines to The Beast's home town, Barnsley for Boxing Day as they hope to continue the great form showed against West Brom at the Brit on Saturday. The Tykes lost their match at Bristol City by a last minute goal and will ruing the point dropped. Their home form has been excellent and they're unbeaten at Oakwell since the opening game of the season, but they've been let down by poor away performances. In contrast the Potters have a decent away record so it should be a good game.
Tykes manager, Simon Davey is obviously wary of the Potters, but hoping for a similar result to the 3-2 win they had over Watford: 'Stoke are a similar side to Watford and are a big, powerful, aggressive outfit. We have to match that from the first whistle and hopefully our football will shine through. We cannot let Stoke bully us because they are a good team and can physically overpower you. They have quality in Ricardo Fuller, who is a Premier League striker.'
Barnsley will be without suspended Jamal Campbell-Ryce and fellow winger Martin Devaney is a doubt (leg injury).
The Tykes are hoping Rob Kozluk can shake off a thigh injury, while Bobby Hassell will be keen to play some part.
The 24 year old midfielder is the Tykes top scorer with eight goals.
Stoke should field the same starting eleven that beat the Baggies. Stephen Wright is also available for selection. Salif Diao is unlikely to feature as he still battles to regain match fitness with Tony Pulis reluctant to throw the former Liverpool midfielder into the squad too soon.
Ric's five goals in two games (including his first hat-trick for the Potters) has got the whole Championship buzzing. When he's on fire - watch out Barnsley!
The dire 0-0 draw at the Brit back in September was a catalogue of missed chances for the Potters. Time then to make amends...
Sat 29th Dec: Plymouth (away) kick-off: 3pm
New Year's Day: Hull (home) kick-off: 3pm
Sun 6th Jan: Newcastle United (home) kick-off: 6pm (FA Cup on BBC1)
Date:Tuesday December 25 2007
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