Manchester City will be desperate to end their winless run and revive their title aspirations by beating Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium for the first time in seven Premier League visits.
The Potters have already proved more than a match for the champions this season, winning the reverse fixture in August, and they into this one in strong form, losing just once since Christmas. Manager Mark Hughes will be relieved his side appear to have sorted their problems at home, where they made a stuttering start to the season.
They had late substitute Peter Crouch to thank for earning a point at Newcastle United on Sunday, with the experienced striker producing a superb header to preserve a place in the top half. That could earn him a start here, while the pace and energy of the hardworking Mame Biram Diouf will certainly cause problems.
It was another lethargic display for Man City on Saturday as they ended up relieved to avoid defeat against relegation-threatened Hull City, with James Milner netting a fine free-kick in stoppage time. They cannot afford more of the same from here on out if they are to make up that seven-point gap to leaders Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Yaya Toure and new signing Wilfried Bony were experiencing long-awaited Ivorian glory in the Africa Cup of Nations. Toure’s absence has hit the Citizens harder than expected, but they still have plenty of quality players without him, with Sergio Aguero in particular misfiring since returning from injury.
The home side will be without Ryan Shawcross, Erik Pieters, Stephen Ireland, Bojan Krkic and Marc Wilson, while there are also doubts over Marko Arnautovic.
There are no new injury concerns for Man City, with Eliaquim Mangala possibly in line to return to the centre of defence.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Stoke