The Cottagers arrive at the Brit on the back on a decent run of five games unbeaten but they’re without an away win this season. Stoke will be keen to improve on their run of just one defeat in the last seven and are undefeated at the Brit since Chelsea’s visit back in September. Fulham are on a far better run than last season which saw them narrowly miss the drop and now have former Everton striker, Andy Johnson and ex Hammer, Bobby Zamora heading up their strike force. But they still only sit one point above the Potters so it’s definitely all to play for and another sell-out crowd will make for a great atmosphere.
Tony Pulis is never one to say that a match is easy and tomorrow’s game is no exception: ‘If anyone thinks this will be a walk in the park then they’re in for a rude awakening and that’s what I’ll be telling the players.’
Stoke City Team News:
Whilst Fulham may be glad that Rory Delap is a doubt following injections this week to cope with a shoulder injury, they’ll do well to keep a eye on Sonko who showed at Newcastle that his throws can be just as dangerous.
Andy Griffin is unlikely to start after sustaining a knee injury. Dave Kitson, Ryan Shawcross and Liam Lawrence are all back in training but Saturday’s match will probably be too soon for any return to action.
Danny Pugh, Michael Tonge and Glenn Whelan are all fighting for a start after they’ve impressed in recent weeks. Ric Fuller will return to his starting position after his reported ‘kick up the backside’ after the Derby debacle and subsequent relegation to the bench for Newcastle.
Player to watch: Abdoulaye Faye
Ab Faye is considered one of the best of the summer signings after his move from Newcastle. The Toon Army regarded him as one of their better players and their dismay at their loss would have been compounded as he gave the Potters a last minute equaliser at St. James Park last week.
Fulham Team News:
Fulham have no injury worries and are likely to field the same side that drew 1-1 with Man City at Craven Cottage last weekend.
Player to watch: Bobby Zamora
After joining the Hammers from Spurs in 2004 he didn’t seem to gel at first and Tony Pulis was a gnat’s whisker away from getting the striker to come to the Brit early in the 2004/05 season. He’s now at Craven Cottage after a move in the summer, but should not be underestimated despite only scoring one goal so far.
Match Facts & Stats
It’s two years since the Potters met the Cottagers down in the smoke in the fourth round of the FA Cup. But that day we went down 0-3.
Stuart Attwell is in charge for only his fourth Premier League game of the season. He’s best remembered for giving ‘the goal that never was’ earlier this season in the Championship clash between Watford and Reading.
Saturday 20th December: Blackburn Rovers (away) kick-off: 3pm
Boxing Day: Manchester United (home) kick-off: 12.45pm * SKY TV
Sunday 28th December: West Ham (away) kick-off: 2pm