Monday night football returns to the Brit along with the Baggies, who Potters fans have now taken for granted will also come bearing gifts. We’ve only lost once to our West Midlands’ rivals in the last 22 years but the certainty of three points should never be taken for granted. It will be their new boss, Roy Hodgson’s second visit of the season to the Brit and hopefully he’ll depart just as empty-handed as he did when we beat Liverpool.
Tony Pulis’s assistant, Dave Kemp, is urging the customary note of caution for the visit of the Baggies. He told the official site: ‘They had a bright start and had a bit of a dip but it’s a long Premier League season. You’re going to have spells were your going to have dip in form but you’ve just got to overcome that, see it out and get on to the next game.
‘I’m sure West Brom are the same as us, and hope they’ll have a good run soon and start picking up some points. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t start on Monday night because we want to get climbing up the table again.’
Stoke City Team News:
We’ll have to see if Matty Etherington is fit after he was taken off with a back problem in the cup win over Brighton eight days ago. He missed the visit to the Emirates this week and is still a doubt. John Carew is certain of a start upfront, but will Tony Pulis decide to partner him with Kenwyne Jones, whose form has taken a sharp dip in recent weeks, or Ricardo Fuller?
Player to watch: John Carew
Another goal against Brighton doubled his tally in his six starts for the Potters and hopefully is now starting to settle him with his new team-mates. Our strike options have been dealt a blow in recent weeks with the failure to sign the likes of Demba Ba, the departures of Tuncay and Gudjohnsen and Mamady Sidibe’s injury which has sidelined him for the remainder of the season. So it’s even more important now that the four remaining strikers step up their game.
West Brom Team News:
The Baggies have been in a poor run of form in recent weeks which has seen them slip down to just one place off the bottom of the league. They can count themselves lucky to have earned a point at Molineux last week with a last minute goal on Hodgson’s first outing with the club.
Player to watch: Scott Carson
The one-time England keeper turned down a move to the Potteries in favour of a move to West Brom at the start of our Premier League adventure which has never endeared him to any Potters’ fans. But it was probably just as well as he’s never shown himself as worthy of another crack at the England job and we’d never had the benefit of Thomas Sorensen.
Match Facts & Stats
Next week sees the start of the double header against the Hammers:
Saturday 5th March: away in the league – kick-off: 3pm
Sunday 13th March: at home in the FA Cup quarter finals – kick-off: 2pm