It seems like an age since we last kicked a ball, treated to a week off last week due to us being knocked out of the FA Cup has me chomping at the bit for some football i actually care about. Since Norwich almost two weeks ago i have had to make do with some Champions League and Cup action, good as it was i cant wait to see us back.
The 12.45 kick off is a bit of a pain in the arse and i could complain about that for hours (as i have done here https://trentsetters.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/the-stand-against-modern-football/) but i shan’t, lets get back to the matter at hand this weeks preview.
We have Stoke to look forward too if thats the right way to phrase it, people tend to look forward to Stoke as much as being kneed in the family jewels or visiting the dentist. Our record against the Potters has been decent since their promotion to the Premier League in 2007-2008. On the banks of the themes our record reads P4 W3 L1 the loss of course coming on a rainy night prior to the European Cup Final in a game its fair to say no one could be bothered with.
Stoke currently find themselves in 10th place which is respectable going on paper but not when looking at how active they always are in the transfer window. We see this activity every transfer window when some unlucky chump from Sky has to stand in a scene closely resembling the end of Sean Of The Dead somewhere in Stoke. Though the Potters currently stand ahead of us in the league their form has been somewhat patchy of late with just 4 points in the last 6. Il stick my neck out here, despite us being behind them in the league i will wager my dog we will finish above them come May.
The team news coming out of the Britannia camp is that Marc Wilson could make a return on Saturday following a broken leg, football manager legend Brek Shea is also in the match day squad, missing are Match of The Day pundit/Horse trainer Michael Owen and Cameron Jerome.
In terms of us we could see the return of Kieran Richardson who id like to see brought back in at left back. Again sadly we will be without Kerim Frei and Mahamadou Diarra.
In terms of my gut feeling for this game? It could go either way, we have the potential to hand out a good old fashioned spanking to someone and we are due doing it soon but we also have a tendency to be bullied out of games we really shouldn’t be. Two reasonable performances against Manchester United and Norwich City have given me hope it could be the former, much as ever depends if the mercurial,languid, decadent crew Bryan and Berba fancy it which all too often they plainly don’t.
Saturday really depends on how much we want it because one thing is guaranteed when playing Stoke they will fight tooth and nail for every ball. We fell victim to their competitiveness earlier in the season leading Jol to call Stoke a Rugby team which i feel is unfair, their uncompromising style is a credit to the Premier League and adds another dimension to the league. We need to match Stoke with high energy and high work rate so a lot depends on centre midfield pairing, personally i would like to be Sidwell and Frimpong who will both ‘get into um’.
So see you all bright and early Saturday afternoon, lets hope we are all enjoying our pints back in the boozer watching The Jeff Stelling show come 3pm, YOU WHITES.