Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Saturday January 5 2008
6th January 2008
Stoke City's biggest FA Cup tie in recent years pits the Potters against the Premier League's Newcastle United. The Magpies are currently in a poor run of form and with the Potters now being recognised as genuine promotion contenders, the national media are salivating at the prospect of a good old cup upset at the Brit. With the match live on prime-time BBC1, hosted by Gary Lineker and former Potter, Garth Crooks, there could be upwards of five million people watching the Potters on Sunday night. Such a stage could be daunting, but as Stoke has the benefit of being regarded as the underdogs hopefully we can rise to the occasion and go out and show the country that Stoke City are coming back...
Tony Pulis is hoping everyone just enjoys themselves and we get a result: 'I'll simply be telling the lads to go out there, work hard and enjoy themselves ... then, hopefully, the rest will follow.
'We are under no illusion about the task ahead. Newcastle may not be happy with their results at the moment, but they are still a team full of quality and experience'
Ricardo Fuller is back in the squad after his midweek flight home to Jamaica to be at the funeral of his grandmother, but TP will not commit himself to starting with Ricardo until he's had a chance to assess him. All fans will desperately hope that that's just smoke and mirrors for the Toon Army's benefit and that Ric is on the centre spot at 6pm. Andy Wilkinson should also start but Salif Diao and Rory Delap look doubtful.
Assuming he's starting, Stoke's star forward should be relishing the attention that the media have been giving him and Allardyce has already been full of dire warnings to his team should they fail to control the Jamaican international.
Joey Barton won't be gracing the Brit with his presence as he rests at a clinic down south. Michael Owen should be line with a rare start as Martins and Geremi have both left early for the African Cup of Nations
The England striker has been dogged by injuries since joining Newcastle in 2005 and has only averaged eight games a season since then. He looks like he may get a starting position for his first FA Cup tie since he was at Liverpool back in 2004.
Stoke have met Newcastle five times in the FA Cup, but never come out victorious
Premier League referee, Steve Bennett will be officiating.
Sat 12th Jan: Ipswich (away) kick-off: 3pm
Sat 19th Jan: Preston NE (home) kick-off: 3pm
Tue 29th Jan: Charlton (away) kick-off: 7.45pm
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Date:Saturday January 5 2008
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