Premier League: Stoke City v Sunderland Team News

Premier League: Stoke City v Sunderland Team News

Ryan Shawcross return to Stoke’s defence for the visit of Sunderland to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday couldn’t be better timed as Abdoulaye Faye is forced out with a hamstring injury.

Senegalese defender Faye has been a regular in the heart of Stoke’s defence in the New Year but the experienced 32-year-old faces a spell on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury in the 2-0 defeat against Liverpool on Wednesday.

Shawcross returns from suspension after collecting a red card early in the second half at Craven Cottage a fortnight ago; Clint Dempsey’s subsequent penalty seeing off the Potter’s chances in the 2-0 defeat to Fulham.

Manager Tony Pulis will be hoping to get back to winning ways after consecutive league defeats for Stoke and will take confidence from their home record against Sunderland. They won both encounters since returning to the top flight and can look back to 2004 to find the last time Sunderland won in Potteries. Bookmakers have not missed those statistics and seem to expect a repeat on Saturday with William Hill offering the best odds of 6/5 for the home win.

Sunderland have had a poor record on their Premier League travels but Steve Bruce has addressed this problem with a good measure of success this season as Chelsea, Aston Villa and Blackpool will all attest having lost to Sunderland’s adventurous approach away from home.

Chelsea avenged their 3-0 home defeat against Sunderland in midweek with a powerful display to win 4-2 and it should be noted Steve Bruce’s spirited squad have only fallen to back-to-back defeats on one occasion this season. Sunderland have won their last two away games and will be determined to remain in competition for a European place which will make the 14/5 odds for an away win with Victor Chandler a temptation for many armchairs viewers.

Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller had been linked with a move to the North east in the January transfer window, he will miss Saturday’s game while he attends a family funeral leaving former Sunderland target man Kenwynne Jones to lead the forward line alongside John Carew.

Matthew Etherington was rested for the Liverpool game and is expected to return to supply some bullets for the two hitmen from the left wing and Pulis has no other injury concerns this week.

Bruce has little choice but to play Asamoah Gyan as lone striker following the sale of Darren Bent and injuries to the clubs other forwards Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell. Kieran Richardson has been providing support in behind Gyan and the utility man has excelled in the role scoring three times in the last two games. Despite his success since playing further forward, online bookmaker Bet365 is prepared to stand out with odds of 4/1 for him to get on the scoresheet again on Saturday.

Bruce is expected to hand Sulley Muntari his debut after sorting out his visa and completing the loan move from Inter Milan, while his other new signing Stephane Sessegnon will get another run out on the left wing where he played against Chelsea.

Sunderland defender Rio Ferdinand has been playing with a groin strain and could rest up to allow John Mensah to partner Titus Bramble in the centre of defence.
 

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