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Barclays Premier League

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

Stoke City Stoke City vs Middlesbrough Middlesbro'

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.

Skysports.com 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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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 34 77
2 Chelsea 35 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 34 67
5 Everton 34 66
6 Tottenham Hotspur 35 63
7 Manchester United 33 57
8 Southampton 35 49
9 Newcastle United 35 46
10 Stoke City 35 44
11 Crystal Palace 35 43
12 West Ham United 35 37
13 Swansea City 35 36
14 Hull City 33 36
15 Aston Villa 34 35
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 34 32
18 Cardiff City 35 30
19 Fulham 35 30
20 Sunderland 34 29

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