Stoke remain firmly in the fight against relegation although they will certainly be more confident for Norwich’s visit to the Britannia than they would have been a week or so ago.
However, last Saturday’s morale-boosting victory at QPR has lifted the Potters to 37 points and although their home form has been decidedly shaky of late, Tony Pulis will be confident of getting the three points they need against Norwich that will surely guarantee their Premier League position for next season.
That has not stopped the pressure that continues to heap itself on Pulis’ shoulders however and as speculation rises that the Welshman will depart the Britannia at the end of the season no matter what league the club is in, he will want to finish the campaign strongly more than anyone.
Matthew Etherington may be fit to return despite a recurring back problem while Pulis will give fitness checks to defender Marc Wilson (hamstring), midfielder Charlie Adam (ankle) and striker Cameron Jerome (ankle). Should Jerome miss out, either Kenwyne Jones, Michael Owen or Michael Kightly will come in.
Norwich took an equally crucial win of their own last week, with their 2-1 success over Reading taking them to 38 points and within touching distance of a third consecutive season in the top flight.
Chris Hughton’s men do not score many goals away from Carrow Road though they remain difficult to break down and will certainly not roll over for Stoke.
Michael Turner misses out after suffering a groin injury against the Royals last Saturday, with Leon Barnett recalled from a loan spell at Cardiff to cover, while John Ruddy may return in-between the sticks having recovered from a long-standing thigh problem.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Stoke