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Barclays Premier League

Britannia Stadium (ATT 26,442) 21st March 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: L Mason

Stoke Stoke City vs Middlesbrough M'boro

Stoke 1


M'boro 0

Stoke v Middlesbrough preview

Six-pointer at The Britannia

Last Updated: 20/03/09 12:32pm

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Pulis: Looking for win

Pulis: Looking for win

Stoke host Middlesbrough in another Premier League relegation six-pointer. prediction: Stoke 2 Boro 0 Sky Bet odds: Stoke 5/2 Draw 5/2 Boro 2/1 One to Watch: James Beattie Bet on the match

For the second week running Boro are again lining up against another side in the bottom-three.

Stoke are only in the drop-zone on goal-difference, whilst Boro remain two points adrift and know only a win at the Britannia Stadium would lift them out of the relegation spots.

Both sides have very poor records against rival clubs at the bottom end. Stoke have won just one of the six games they have had against the bottom-six and Boro's record is even worse, with just one victory in eight games against the bottom-six.

Indeed, Boro look to have a massive task in front of them; just one win in 17 league games, no goals in nearly 12 hours of playing away from the Riverside in the league while Stoke have lost just once in 11 games at home - and that was against Manchester United.

Boro will also not be looking forward to facing James Beattie, as the in-form striker does not enjoy playing against anyone more than the Teessiders having scored seven times against them in his career.

Team news

Stoke boss Tony Pulis is considering whether to bring Ricardo Fuller back into his starting line-up.

He is recovering from a shoulder problem and will likely replace Mamady Sidibe, providing he can prove his fitness.

Matthew Etherington is also nursing an ankle injury and may have to make do with a place on the bench again.

Middlesbrough will be forced into at least one change for the trip to the Potteries with Matthew Bates suspended.

His absence will likely mean Josh Walker coming into the side, although if Gary O'Neil is declared fit then he could also line up alongside Julio Arca in central midfield.

Jeremie Aladiere is also a doubt, but he should start on the right-side of midfield, while Justin Hoyte looks set to miss out again.

Yet another concern is captain Emanuel Pogatetz - who was forced off against Portsmouth last weekend. Andrew Taylor is on stand-by to come in for the Austrian.

Possible starting XIs

Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham , Lawrence, Whelan, Diao, Delap, Beattie, Fuller

Middlesbrough: Jones, McMahon, Pogatetz, Wheater, Huth, Aliadiere, O'Neil, Arca, Downing, Tuncay, King

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 18 45
2 Manchester City 18 42
3 Manchester United 18 35
4 Southampton 18 32
5 West Ham United 18 31
6 Arsenal 18 30
7 Tottenham Hotspur 18 30
8 Swansea City 18 28
9 Liverpool 18 25
10 Newcastle United 18 23
11 Stoke City 18 22
12 Everton 18 21
13 Aston Villa 18 20
14 Sunderland 18 19
15 West Bromwich Albion 18 17
16 Queens Park Rangers 18 17
17 Hull City 18 16
18 Crystal Palace 18 15
19 Burnley 18 15
20 Leicester City 18 10