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League Cup

  • 21 September 2010
  • • 19:45
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: M. Halsey
  • • Attendance: 21907
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FT
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League Cup Preview: Stoke City - Fulham

League Cup Preview: Stoke City - Fulham

Change is in the air

Stoke City play host to Fulham in a third-round clash in the League Cup that both Premier League sides will feel they could have done without.

Only one team can advance from these two, meaning one top-flight team is certain to be dumped out of the competition at this stage.

With a trip to Newcastle United on the horizon and form only just returning to his side, Potters boss Tony Pulis will likely feel that exiting the tournament could only be detrimental to his squad's morale.

As for Cottagers manager Mark Hughes, his proud unbeaten record and his side's away form will be put to the test at Britannia Stadium.

Pulis made six changes to his side in the last League Cup fixture, against Shrewsbury Town, which his side won 2-1 thanks to goals from Jon Walters and Tuncay Sanli.

The former Plymouth Argyle boss is expected to ring in the changes again for this game and could hand Eidur Gudjohnsen his first start for the club.

The ex-Barcelona man is certainly raring to go, as he recently said: "I hope to make a start every time and this could be the perfect game to get more minutes in."

In the meantime, defender Ryan Shawcross is dreaming about going to Wembley this season, and hopes that the Cottagers will be just another hurdle that his side will have to cross.

He said: "Everyone wants to get to cup finals and we are no different. Hopefully we can get the win against Fulham and push on."

However, the home side have a few injuries to deal with, and a few fringe players are likely to be included in the starting line-up as Michael Tonge and Danny Pugh could be handed another opportunity to make a positive impression on the gaffer.

Hughes arrives with heavy artillery

Fulham boss Mark Hughes is defending an unbeaten record as he moves to set right the club's woeful record on the road.

The Cottagers have tasted only seven league victories away from home in the last three seasons, and are yet to register an away day win in the league in over a year.

But the cup can sometimes bring out the best in players, as the fear of failure - and being dumped out of the competition - could spur the players on to registering their first victory away from home this season.

To further aid in the cause, the former Manchester City boss has maintained that he will not make too many changes to his line-up, as he said: "I made the point before and after the last round that we are very early in the season and we don't need to make many changes.

"From a new manager's point of view, I want to see the core elements of my team play as much as possible.

"That might be different for other clubs who have managers who know their teams inside out. That is a different situation, but for me it helps seeing them play as many times as I can."

TEAM NEWS


Stoke City

Potters boss Tony Pulis will likely have to make do without the services of record signing Kenwyne Jones, as the forward hobbled off with a groin injury during the recent game against West Ham United.

Jermaine Pennant and Jon Walters are doubtful of making his encounter, owing to hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.

Having made his debut against the Hammers last week, Eidur Gudjohnsen could be set for his first start for the club.

Possible starting XI: Begovic; Huth, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Higginbotham; Tonge, Etherington, Whelan, Pugh; Gudjohnsen, Tuncay.

Fulham

Andy Johnson is still about three to four weeks away to make a comeback from his knee injury, while fellow striker Bobby Zamora (knee) and defender Philippe Senderos (Achilles) are still a few months away from fully recovering from their respective injuries.

Diomansy Kamara has returned to training following a recovery from a foot injury, while goalkeeper David Stockdale is sidelined with an ankle injury.

Possible starting XI: Schwarzer; Calcido, Hughes, Hangeland, Kelly; Dempsey, Davies, Duff, Murphy, Gera; Dembele
.

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Players to watch

E. Guðjohnsen

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Eidur Gudjohnsen has pleaded with manager Tony Pulis to give him a run out during this encounter, having made his debut against West Ham United on Saturday.

With opposition boss Mark Hughes promising a strong line-up and his own manager set to name a changed team, the former Chelsea attacker could be key to the Potters.

M. Schwarzer

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Mark Schwarzer had a poor game against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, and will likely be looking to resurrect the kind of form that saw him being chased by Arsenal during the summer.

Given the Cottagers' away day woes in recent seasons coupled with Stoke's threat from set-pieces, the Australian's performance could be key to the west London club's hopes of progression in the competition.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Stoke City

Fulham

Wins
2
0
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Stoke City FC STO
Stoke City FC Stoke City
Draw
Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
28%
46%
26%

Top 3 Predictions

Stoke City FC STO
0 - 0
Fulham FC FUL
Stoke City FC STO
1 - 0
Fulham FC FUL
Stoke City FC STO
2 - 1
Fulham FC FUL

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