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Stoke v West Ham preview

01 May 2009 10:56:37

Stoke v West Ham preview

Stoke will have their sights set on passing the 40-point mark when they welcome West Ham to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday. A win for the Potters, combined with a loss for both Newcastle and Middlesbrough, will ensure the club's Premier League status for next season. Meanwhile, opponents West Ham will be desperate to get their Europa League ambitions back on track after surrendering seventh place to Fulham last week. The Hammers now trail their fellow Londoners by two points, but with Fulham facing a tough game against Chelsea in the capital, Gianfranco Zola's side will be keen to take advantage of any dropped points. However, they could hardly wish for a more daunting trip than to the Potteries, with Stoke currently unbeaten in seven home league games and boasting the seventh best home record in the Premier League. Team newsStoke are hoping to welcome back striker James Beattie for the clash, although the 31-year-old faces a late fitness test on the thigh injury that kept him sidelined against Fulham last weekend. Defender Danny Pugh will almost certainly play after recovering from the ankle scare that saw him substituted late on in that game, but Andy Wilkinson remains a doubt with a back problem. Winger Matthew Etherington is likely to retain his place in the Potters side to face his former club where he spent six years until his departure in January. Otherwise, long-term casualties Amdy Faye, Danny Higginbotham, Mamady Sidibe and Salif Diao are all unavailable for selection. Hammers injuriesWest Ham have the luxury of being able to choose from a similar squad to that which lost out narrowly to Chelsea last weekend. Scott Parker is still missing after boss Gianfranco Zola admitted that he was not sure if the midfielder would feature again this season, however there are no new injury worries. Jack Collison is back in training after suffering a dislocated kneecap in March, but is not yet match-fit, while Kieron Dyer could keep his place in the starting line-up after making his first start in nearly two years against Chelsea. Possible starting XIs:Stoke: Sorensen, Kelly, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Pugh, Lawrence, Whelan, Delap, Etherington, Fuller, Beattie. West Ham: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Boa Morte, Noble, Stanislas, Dyer, Tristan, Di Michele.


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