Stoke host West Brom at the Brittania Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Potters are favourites, with a good run of form leaving them in eighth place, while three successive defeats have left West Brom struggling in 15th place.
Stoke are the form side, having produced two wins and three draws in their last five games in all competitions. The Potters secured a creditable 0-0 draw away to Liverpool last week, but will consider themselves slightly lucky after a performance that generated a mere three shots and 40 per cent of possession.
West Brom, conversely, have lost three consecutive league matches against Everton, Spurs and Norwich. The Baggies have also lost seven of their last 12 matches in the Premier League.
Earlier in the season, a late Ryan Shotton goal helped Stoke beat West Brom 1-0 at the Hawthorns. The Potter also enjoyed success against the Baggies last season. Stoke won 3-0 in November, with two goals from Jonathan Walters and a penalty from Matthew Etherington. The return game was 1-1, with a late Carlos Vela goal cancelling out Rory Delap’s opener.
Stoke will be missing Mamady Sidibe (knee), while Ryan Shotton is a doubt with an ankle injury picked up against Gillingham in the FA Cup.
West Brom are missing Chris Brunt (ankle) and Steven Reid, while Zoltan Gera (knee) has been ruled out for the season. Billy Jones (hamstring), Gareth McAuley (calf), Jonas Olsson (calf), Paul Scharner (Achilles) and Nicky Shorey are doubts.
Shane Long, West Brom’s top scorer with six goals, should start after his goal scoring return last weekend following a back injury and his return will be a big boost to Roy Hodgson’s attacking options. The West Brom attack has been anaemic this season, with the Baggies only scoring one in their last four matches and 20 overall (18th in the Premier League).