West Brom v Stoke - Match preview and team news
Saturday 01 December 2012
West Brom will be looking to recover from their horror-show at Swansea in the week, which saw them go three down in the first-half as they eventually fell to a 3-1 defeat.
The performance was all the more surprising given the Baggies had won their previous four Premier League games on the bounce, a record for them, to impressively move into the fourth Champions League spot, a place they still retain by three points with a superior goal difference from Tottenham.
Steve Clarke is helped by the fact that he can call upon a near fully-fit squad, with only Steven Reid a long-term injury absentee, while first-choice goalkeeper Ben Foster’s continued absence has hardly been missed due to the steady form of deputy Boaz Myhill. However, for the visit of Stoke, Clarke may just look to tinker further forward, with perhaps the more physical presence of Marc-Antoine Fortune or Romelu Lukaku, as well as Chris Brunt, coming into the starting XI.
Stoke have taken 10 points from their last 12 available, including three wins at the Britannia to rise from just above the relegation places to a hugely creditable ninth in the Premier League table. However, manager Tony Pulis will be aware of his side’s poor record away from the Potteries, where they have not won in 16 league clashes.
The Welshman is waiting on news of Peter Crouch after the England striker had three teeth knocked out in the first half of the victory against Newcastle in midweek, with either Kenwyne Jones or the scorer of the winner that night Cameron Jerome set to deputise.
Elsewhere, Andy Wilkinson and Michael Owen may return to the squad after long spells on the sidelines with back and hamstring injuries respectively but Rory Delap and Marc Wilson remain absent.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on West Brom v Stoke