Yet another crucial match with Rovers making their first ever trip to the Brit. Big Sam’s men crashed to a 4-0 defeat at Anfield last Saturday but didn’t have a recognised striker with illness and injury decimating the front line. They’ll have Diouf back now to bolster the front line but this is a game that we should be looking to go out and get all three points – just don’t expect it to be easy…
Sam Allardyce has a similar reputation as Tony Pulis for a combative style of play and tomorrow’s game will not be pretty. But at this point in the season even West Brazil would swap places with the Potters and Pulis knows that there is no room yet for complacency: ‘There are still six games to go and it is so tight down there that almost anything can happen. We’ve emphasised to the players that they need to keep their foot on full gas but, in fairness to them, they know the score.’
Stoke City Team News:
James Beattie will play with 12 stitches he gained in the clash with Newcastle last weekend and so it’s likely to be the same starting eleven for the third match in a row.
Player to watch: James Beattie
Beatts had to be substituted last weekend after the head wound was causing him difficulty, but will be more than ready to face his old club and home town supporters.
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Rovers suffered last week with no recognised strikers. They now have El Hadji Diouf back from illness but Roque Santa Cruz is injured. Pedersen will return from injury but it still leaves Brett Emerton and Steven Reid out with knee injuries and Jason Roberts is sidelined with a broken metatarsal.
Player to watch: El Hadji Diouf
Diouf signed for Blackburn Rovers for an undisclosed fee on 30 January 2009 after just 6 months at the Stadium of Light, rejoining his former Bolton manager at Ewood Park. But his single goal in seven games doesn’t compare favourably with Beatts’ six in eleven.
Match Facts & Stats
Howard Webb. A decent referee so, with luck, we won’t be talking about any controversial decisions.
Saturday 25th April: Fulham (away) kick-off: 3pm