Stoke Wolves, Sat 17:30
With Swansea and Norwich City both facing tough fixtures against Newcastle and Everton, respectively, Stoke have a distinct window of opportunity to assume a position in the top half of the table when they host Wolves on Saturday, as Ladbrokes offer long odds on Terry Connor’s side to take all the points back to Molieux.
Terry Connor is still to taste victory as boss of the West Midlands club and has only taken one point away from a possible 18 since taking over at the helm of Wolves.
That record is in no small part due to what can only be described as woeful defending at times, leading to the Molineux club having the worst defence in the English top flight, conceding an average of 2.19 goals per game this season.
What’s more, Wolves are also the third worst attacking side in the league when playing away from home in the current campaign and given that they are six points adrift of safety, it would seem that Championship football beckons.
Stoke haven’t been quite the defensive unit at home as they were last season but have nevertheless made the Brittania Stadium a difficult venue to travel to once more this season, keeping clean sheets in 40% of their home fixture so far.
That being said, Tony Pulis’ men are without a victory in five matches but managed to maintain that stern home form in their last outing at the Brittania, earning a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.
As a result, the side can feel confident of being able to come away with all three points against basement team Wolves, who are on a five-match losing streak.
Both teams have a number of injuries and players out on loan but will not be bringing any faces back into the fold this weekend, apart from Salif Diao, who could feature for the hosts.
Tony Pulis will also be hoping to bring back influential winger Matthew Etherington, who is still suffering the effects of an ankle knock, while Jermaine Pennant is also close to starting for the Potters.
If these two can start, then Pulis will surely have the firepower down the flanks to supply Peter Crouch, who should be full of confidence after his ‘goal of the season’ last week.