Just four league matches to go and there’s no doubt that it’s the home side who are going to be more desperate for a win after the Potters as good as ensured their Premier League survival with that 3-0 victory over Wolves in midweek. The Seasiders sit just one place out of the relegation zone thanks to the Potters as they have the same number of points but are just one goal better off than Wolves.
Stoke skipper, Ryan Shawcross told the official site that the team is fully aware that they need to keep the pressure on.
‘We’re under no illusions that it is going to be an extremely difficult game for us at Blackpool on Saturday – possibly one of the hardest of the season. It’s an incredibly tough place to go to.
‘I have been there before when we were in the Championship and it was a difficult place to go then. It will be even harder now, because they are a better team, they have more experience and they are desperate to get points on the board.
‘They came to our place in October and got the win, so we will go there on Saturday looking to put that right. We are in good form at the moment and scoring goals, and Blackpool need the points so it should make for a cracker.’
Blackpool Team News:
Blackpool’s rollercoaster season has mirrored their biggest attraction and they seem intent on replicating Hull’s ‘strategy’ of two years ago with a solid performance in the first half of the season, followed by a torrid second half. They’ve lost 12 of their 17 matches this year and the only reason they’re still in with a hope is due to several results last year like the 1-0 win at the Brit in October.
Player to watch: James Beattie
The former Potter failed to make any impact after his move last summer to Glasgow Rangers and is now on loan at Blackpool. No doubt Tony Pulis offered his old mate, Ian Holloway, some advice on how to get the best out of the striker including the tip not to say anything to him during the post-match shower but he’s also failed to make any impression with the Seasiders and his future in top flight football must now be limited.
Stoke City Team News:
Injuries abound at the Brit. Ric’s injury last week and Matty’s hamstring on Tuesday have taken the gloss off an excellent end to the season and dulled the excitement of the build-up to the FA Cup final. Three points in Blackpool would give both team and fans alike the belief that they can still see off sterner opposition such as Arsenal and Man City over the next few weeks.
Player to watch: John Carew
Now that league survival is virtually guaranteed, TP may try and ring the changes. One player that’s in need of some match practice is Villa loanee, John Carew. Whilst his absence due to a back problem has thankfully coincided with the blossoming of the front row partnership of Jon Walters and Kenwyne Jones we’re in desperate need of some solid back-up ahead of the cup final.
Match Facts & Stats
Sunday 8th May: Arsenal (home) kick-off: 2.05pm
Saturday 14th May: Man City (Wembley) kick-off: 3pm