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Preview for Fulham against Stoke

last updated Friday 21st January 2011, 9:23 PM
Fulham manager Mark Hughes
Fulham manager Mark Hughes
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Stoke travel to Fulham in a game that both sides will be looking to win to continue their recent progress away from the relegation zone on Saturday.

The Cottagers got the points last time the two teams clashed in December with a 2-0 away win that came as a surprise to many inside and outside the tricky Britannia Stadium.

Tony Pulis' team are sitting pretty in eighth place in the table, with their ability to get a result serving them well and an away win pushing them towards the heady heights of sixth place.

Fulham meanwhile are still in and amongst the bottom clubs, with defeat possibly putting them back in the relegation zone come 5pm on Saturday evening.

There seems to be little love lost between Pulis and Fulham boss Mark Hughes, who refused to shake hands following the reverse fixture in a tempestuous affair, with captain Danny Murphy lambasting Stoke for their physical approach.

It could also be a day for new faces after John Carew's trip up the motorway on loan to Pulis' side from Aston Villa was sealed on Friday.

The big Norwegian could be in line to make his debut at Craven Cottage, but has some shoes to fill in replacing the popular Ricardo Fuller, who is tipped to replace Villa new boy Darren Bent at Sunderland.

Stoke will be keen to build on their impressive 2-0 victory at home to Bolton, however their away form is not so favourable in the Premier League with just one win on the road all season.

They are, however, coming off the back of an impressive win at Championship high-flyers Cardiff, where John Walters grabbed a double in extra-time to seal a 2-0 in their FA Cup replay on Tuesday.

Walters will be hoping to keep his place in Pulis' starting line-up, but Carew's arrival may mean he has to settle for a place on the bench.

Fulham have no further injury worries ahead of the game, but could make some changes to the team.

Mark Hughes could also hand a debut to midfielder Steve Sidwell, who was on the bench for their 1-1 draw against Wigan last Saturday following his signing from Villa.

Andrew Johnson's late heroics in scoring his first goal for two years and grabbing an equaliser against the Latics could also see him rewarded with a start.

Pulis is likely to bring back his strongest team after making 10 changes for the visit to the Welsh capital, but may have to make do without Danny Higginbotham, who was withdrawn in Tuesday's match with a hamstring strain.

Source Mike Barton at SkySports
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