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Preview: Wolves v Stoke
12 Aug 2010 - 15:23:07
Wolverhampton Wanderers take on Stoke City at Molineux on Saturday afternoon and both sides will be hungry for some early season cheer.
Under Mick McCarthy, Wolves impressed many by staying in the top-flight last term following their Championship title success the previous year.
The former Sunderland boss has been busy in the summer and has added a number of new faces to his blossoming squad.
Towering defenders Jelle Van Damme and Steven Mouyokolo have joined while Hull City's Stephen Hunt and Burnley striker Steven Fletcher have also made their way to the Midlands side and they should all be in the reckoning to feature at the weekend.
Tony Pulis' industrious Potters team will do well to improve on their 11th-place finish last season and, with just four wins on their travels last season, they will be dreaming of chalking up their first from their first attempt in Wolverhampton.
Ronald Zubar is expected to miss out for the hosts as he struggles with an ankle injury while Abdoulaye Faye is out with a hamstring problem for the visitors.
With James Beattie, Tuncay, Ricardo Fuller, Dave Kitson and Mamady Sidibe all available for selection, Pulis must decide who he wants in attack.
Wolves enjoyed successive wins as they ended their pre-season campaign on a high recently.
Goals from Greg Halford and Stephen Ward secured a 2-0 win at Scottish Premier League side Hearts on August 3 and, four days, McCarthy's men grabbed a fine 2-1 victory over La Liga outfit Athletic Bilbao.
Fletcher and Sylvain Ebanks-Blake notched either side of David Lopez's equaliser.
Stoke lost just once in ten pre-season friendlies - a 1-0 defeat at Derby County - but they ended their campaign on a sour note when they fired a blank during a goalless draw with Wrexham. To compound their misery, striker Fuller was sent off for clashing with Neil Ashton during the fiery fixture.
Last season Stoke threw away a two-goal lead when they drew 2-2 at the Britannia Stadium last October.
A George Elokobi own goal and Matthew Etherington's effort put the hosts in control, but veteran defender Jody Craddock grabbed a brace for Wolves to secure a point.
In the return fixture at Molineux in April, the sides played out an uneventful goalless draw.