The Potters travel up the A50 to Derby with no strikers available that have started a match this season to face the Rams who top the Championship table – no pressure then!
Tony Pulis has been singing the praises of our only recognised striker, Adam Rooney, this week. He told the official site: ‘People may say that I protect him too much, but you need to be careful with younger players.
‘The last thing I want to do is put Adam in the situation where he feels it’s all down to him. He’s been smashing; he’s got a great attitude and a great future at this football club.’
Derby County Team News:
Darren Moore is suspended after picking up a red card in their FA Cup defeat at Plymouth but Matt Oakley and Craig Fagan return from their bans.
Player to watch: Steve Howard
The Rams’ top scorer with thirteen league goals.
Stoke City Team News:
For once the Potters can start a match knowing that they are the underdogs. With the three first choice strikers injured or suspended, it will be left to Adam Rooney to lead the attack. Although fellow striker, Martin Paterson should return from loan at Grimsby on Wednesday morning, he is unlikely to feature having played on Tuesday night in his final game on the east coast.
The good news is that Andy Griffin will hopefully be fit to start after a groin strain caused him to come off late on in the match on Saturday. If so, at least the Championship’s best defence will be at full strength.
Player to watch: Lee Hendrie
Hendrie has had an indifferent couple of games since returning to the Britannia, but showed some glimmers of his best in the few brighter moments of the Luton match. With Rooney on his own, tonight’s the night we need Lee back on top form.
Match Facts & Stats
The Potters turned over the Rams 2-0 with goals from Pericard and Russell in the second match of the season back in August, but since then Derby have turned themselves around and they will be far stiffer opposition this time.
Mon 26th February: Barnsley (home) kick-off: 7.45pm – SKY TV
Sat 3rd March: Plymouth Argyle (away) kick-off: 3pm
Sat 10th March: Southampton (home) kick-off: 3pm
Tue 13th March: Sunderland (away) kick-off: 8pm – SKY TV