Stoke City welcome Maccabi Tel-Aviv to the Britannia Stadium this evening hoping to maintain their position at the top of Europa League Group E.
The Potters have taken to their European adventure like a duck to water and head the group with four points from their first two matches.
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With confidence sky high, they will expect to overcome the challenge of the Israeli team tonight. They will, however, pay their opponents the respect they deserve.
“Maccabi are really good side and I think our supporters will enjoy seeing them.” boss Tony Pulis told the BBC.
“They are very silky team with some very good players. They move the ball around very quickly and it will be a massive test for us. If we underestimate them, then we’ve got a shock coming.”
In team news, Kenwyne Jones looks set to return to the starting line-up after a month on the sidelines because of a hamstring injury. He was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 Barclays Premier League win over Fulham.
Elsewhere on the pitch, Thomas Sorensen will replace Asmir Begovic in goal, with Robert Huth set to be recalled at centre-back.
Former Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham – who has been missing since April with a knee injury – could feature after returning for the second string.
Fellow defender Jonathan Woodgate is not in the Potters’ Europa League squad, with Stoke boss Tony Pulis keen to keep the injury prone former Real Madrid man fresh for the Premier League, and midfielder Wilson Palacios is currently being put through a gruelling fitness programme in a bid to improve his condition.
The action gets underway at 20:05 and it promises to be an enthralling European night at the Britannia Stadium – where the crowd are known for their vociferous support of the team. And tonight, their team should have a little too much for the Israelis.