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  • 28 December 2010
  • • 15:00
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 26954
0
FT
2

Stoke City - Fulham Preview: Ricardo Fuller set to return for home side as Mark Hughes faces away day blues

Stoke City - Fulham Preview: Ricardo Fuller set to return for home side as Mark Hughes faces away day blues

TEAM NEWS

Stoke City


Having reshuffled his pack at Blackburn on Boxing Day, Tony Pulis is expected to opt for his preferred forward partnership of Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones, with the former missing out on the trip to Ewood Park as Jonathan Walters took his place.

And despite breaking his goalscoring duck as a substitute in the 2-0 away win, midfielder Marc Wilson is unlikely to start against Fulham, with Rory Delap likely to continue in the middle.

Possible starting XI: Begovic; Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Collins; Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington; Fuller, Jones.

Fulham

After seeing his side capitulate against West Ham on Sunday, Mark Hughes may be tempted to mix things up against Stoke, potentially handing Damien Duff a start after the Irishman was only deemed worthy of a spot on the bench against the Hammers.

Possible starting XI: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido; Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff; Dempsey; A Johnson.

Broken legs and broken dreams

Tuesday's tie marks these two sides meeting for the first time since an ill tempered League Cup game in September that culminated with Fulham's big summer signing Moussa Dembele sustaining a broken leg as a result of a needless, over-the-top challenge from Andy Wilkinson - one that Hughes would go on to describe as "ridiculous".

Since then, the seasons of both sides have taken a rather different trajectory. At that point of the campaign, the Potters were rooted to the bottom end of the table, but now the Midlands side sit comfortably in the top half while the Londoners struggle down in the relegation zone.

And Tuesday's trip will likely give Fulham fans few reasons to be cheerful, as they have not won an away game this season - another poor display could see another airing of "Hughes out!" from the Cottagers support.

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Players to watch

R. Fuller

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The burly Jamaican is one half, and probably the better, of Stoke's Caribbean combo up top.

Despite having dodgy knees and a shoulder that is almost constantly popping out of socket, the 31-year-old remains the Potteries side's most potent attacker and most fantastical forward.

Many believed that the summer signings of Kenwyne Jones and Eidur Gudjohnsen would see the former Portsmouth man forced to the edges, but instead he has put both of his rivals under the spotlight for a perceived lack of effort on the pitch and off it, with the former a cause of frustration for many with a lazy attitude to chasing the ball and the latter still overweight since his late August arrival.

A. Johnson

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The former Everton man has only in recent months returned from an injury nightmare that kept him out of the game for around a year.

As such, it is forgivable that there is rustiness to his game, as evidenced when two golden opportunities were wasted in the defeat to West Ham.

However, if the Cottagers are to avoid the drop, then they will need a striker to call upon to get goals in the absence of the injured Dembele and Bobby Zamora.

Editor's Prediction

After picking up a solid win at Ewood Park, it is difficult to look beyond the home side for this encounter, especially given Fulham's erratic defending and hapless finishing against West Ham. However, if Johnson can step up, and if Hangeland can boss the aerial duel with Fuller and Jones, then there is a chance that the away side could sneak a goal, but it will take a poor day at the office from Stoke for the away side to get over their awful travel sickness.

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
71%
15%

Top 3 Predictions

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

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