Stoke City - Fulham Preview: Potters look to extend unbeaten home record against depleted Cottagers
Tony Pulis' side have are yet to lose a game at the Britannia this season, while Martin Jol's men will be looking to bounce back after their heavy 3-1 defeat against Sunderland
By Theo Squires
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Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Shotton
Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Etherington
Riether, Hughes, Senderos, Riise
Duff, Berbatov, Rodallega
Tony Pulis will be forced into making a defensive reshuffle ahead of Saturday's clash after Andy Wilkinson (muscle) came off injured against West Ham. Ryan Shotton is expected to deputise in his absence.
Dean Whitehead is available again after suspension, while Michael Owen (hamstring) could also return.
Rory Delap (hernia) and Marc Wilson (leg) are both definite absentees due to long-term injuries.
Mladen Petric (calf) is optimistic about featuring against the Potters but Brede Hangeland begins his three-match ban following his straight red card against Sunderland.
Martin Jol is hopeful that Mahamadou Diarra (knee) will be fit to return, while Chris Baird is available again following suspension.
Simon Davies (neck), Alex Kacanikilic, Kieron Richardson and Bryan Ruiz (all hamstring) are all ruled out through inury.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Stoke City have not lost any of their last 12 home Premier League matches - though they have won only five of those - with their last defeat at the Britannia coming back in February against Sunderland.
- Dean Whitehead has picked up more cards than any other player in the Premier League this season, having been cautioned five times and sent off once, despite having played in just eight games.
- The Potters’ next win in the Premier League will be their 50th in the competition.
- Tony Pulis' side's only two wins this season have both come at home.
- Fulham's last victory in this fixture came in December 2010. The Cottagers won 2-0, with Chris Baird (pictured) scoring both goals.
- Dimitar Berbatov's last three goals for Martin Jol's side have all come away from home.
- The Cottagers are unbeaten in their last four away matches.
- Mark Schwarzer has conceded three goals in a game on five separate occasions already this season.
- In the seven meetings between the two sides since the start of 2010, only once has there been less than two goals in this fixture.
- There have only ever been four scoreless games between these two sides in their 72 meetings since they first met back in 1907.
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Top 3 Predictions
Stoke City 1-1 Fulham
- 16.46 %
Stoke City 1-2 Fulham
- 16.46 %
Stoke City 1-0 Fulham
- 10.97 %
|Premier League (EPL)||5 Oct 2013||Fulham 1 - Stoke City 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||23 Feb 2013||Fulham 1 - Stoke City 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||24 Nov 2012||Stoke City 1 - Fulham 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||11 Feb 2012||Fulham 2 - Stoke City 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||15 Oct 2011||Stoke City 2 - Fulham 0|
|4 Dec 2013||Stoke City 0 - Cardiff 0||EPL|
|30 Nov 2013||Everton 4 - Stoke City 0||EPL|
|23 Nov 2013||Stoke City 2 - Sunderland 0||EPL|
|10 Nov 2013||Swansea City 3 - Stoke City 3||EPL|
|2 Nov 2013||Stoke City 1 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|3||John Arne Riise||Defender|
The England international has found the back of the net against Fulham for Liverpool, Portsmouth and Tottenham so far during his career, scoring four goals over the space of five seasons against the Cottagers. As Stoke's leading goalscorer so far this season, he will be hopeful of adding to his tally and netting against the west London outfit for a fourth different club. Crouch has scored five times so far this season, but has not scored in any of his last six games. With many of his rivals for an England place currently not first choice at their respective clubs, the 31-year-old will be hoping to catch Roy Hodgson's eye by impressing against the England manager's former club.
Last week's substitute appearance against Sunderland was Senderos' first taste of Premier League action since April and the Swiss defender will be hopeful of getting more minutes under his belt. Fulham have been weak defensively so far this season and, with captain Brede Hangeland currently serving a three-match suspension after his red card against the Black Cats, Senderos will need to be at his best to ensure the Cottagers keep picking up the points in their skipper's absence. The former Arsenal defender is strong in the air, and will no doubt play a vital role for Martin Jol's men as they take on a side not exactly known for keeping the ball on the deck.
Stoke's home form is the only thing keeping them out of the relegation zone so far this season, though Tony Pulis will be disappointed at the number of games his side are drawing. While Fulham have been unusually strong away from Craven Cottage so far this year, they are heavily depleted headed into Saturday's tie. Against a full strength Fulham side a draw would seem a likely result, but with Martin Jol being forced to make changes, do not be surprised to see Stoke end the day as winners.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed