Stoke’s defeat last week at the hands of this week’s opponents may foretell trouble to come for some fans, but we should look up on the visit of West Ham as an early opportunity for the squad to right the wrongs of a dreadful performance last week by the Potters.
Hopefully, along with a decent sized crowd, all the fans will be loud and proud and push the team on to a first FA Cup semi-final since those heady days of the early 1970’s.
Tony Pulis is hoping that home advantage and the proven ability of Potters fans to make some noise will be enough to drown those fans travelling up from the East End of London. He told the official site: ‘We experienced the fantastic atmosphere which they created at Upton Park on that occasion and it certainly drove them on after we made a promising start,’ he said.
‘Now, it’s up to our fans to do likewise and I am sure they will create a fantastic atmosphere. We’ve still got tickets left, but hopefully they will all go before the game.
‘West Ham have taken one end of the stadium and they will be in full voice, so our fans need to make sure that the other three sides of the ground drown them out.’
Stoke City Team News:
Thomas Sorensen seems certain to return to cup goal-keeping duties but other than that we’d expect TP to field a strong outfield with the chance of a game at Wembley just 90 minutes away. Jermaine Pennant is a doubt after sustaining a knee injury last week, but other than that he should have a full squad to pick from with Matthew Etherington, Abdy Faye and Danny Higginbotham all deemed to be fit again.
Player to watch: Ryan Shawcross
Last weekend is best forgotten and the skipper will need to ensure that all his starting eleven are fully focused on the task in hand.
West Ham Team News:
Robbie Kean (on loan from Spurs) may return after recovering from a calf injury.
Player to watch: Demba Ba
We thought he’d be trouble last week and so he proved. Let’s not make the same mistakes again this time.
Match Facts & Stats
Saturday 19th March: Newcastle (home) kick-off: 3pm