It’s FA Cup 5th round day and Stoke have an interesting tie against the League 1 leaders – Brighton and Hove Albion. It’s a great opportunity for the Potters to progress, but this is not going to be any sort of push-over with confidence sky high on the south coast. 3,000 will follow the Seagulls to the Brit, whilst the club are hopeful of getting over 20,000 through the door.
The former Chelsea and Spurs midfielder Gus Poyet has been the boss at the Withdean for the last couple of seasons and it’s clear that he’s relishing the underdog tag: ‘I’m expecting them to put us under pressure and try and use their strength. They are very powerful, quick and good technically. We need to deal with that it will be difficult because there is a big difference between the two teams.
‘We will not change our game at all and see if it is possible. It’s difficult to press us for a long time. Premier League players are stronger so maybe they can cope.’
Stoke City Team News:
Tony Pulis has promised changes – but not too many. Expect to see Thomas Sorensen between the posts and the likes of Glenn Whelan and Danny Pugh starting, but hopefully he’ll stick to a strong attack and choose between Jones, Fuller and Carew to start. Matty Etherington will start, but only if he’s 100% fit after struggling with a hamstring problem.
Player to watch: Kenwyne Jones
Many fans are starting to get on Jones’ back, but confidence is king if you’re a striker and a good performance along with some goals will hopefully fill him with confidence.
Brighton Team News:
Brighton’s Chris Wood and Matt Sparrow should be in the squad after recovering from their respective injuries.
Radostin Kishishev (personal), winger Craig Noone (cup-tied) and Jim McNulty (ankle) are all missing.
Player to watch: Ashley Barnes
The Seagulls’ saw off Watford 1-0 away in the last round thanks to a 16th minute strike from Barnes. He was signed up permanently last summer from Plymouth Argyle after spending time on loan at the Withdean at the end of last season and has scored ten goals so far.
Match Facts & Stats
Our last encounter with the Seagulls was when we thrashed them 5-1 at the Withdean on the last day of the 2005/06 season which also coincided with the final appearance of Johan Boskamp as Stoke manager.
Wednesday 23rd February: Arsenal (away) kick-off: 7.45pm
Monday 28th February: West Brom (home) kick-off: 8pm (SKY TV)