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Barclays Premier League

Britannia Stadium (ATT 26,686) 26th November 2011 - Kick off 12:45 Ref: M Halsey

Stoke Stoke City vs Blackburn Rovers Blackburn

Stoke 3

R Delap (28)
G Whelan (58)
P Crouch (72)


Blackburn 1

R Rochina (86)

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Stoke v Blackburn preview

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By Jonathan Jurejko.   Last Updated: 29/11/11 11:01am

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Tony Pulis: Looking to see his Stoke side earn only their second Premier League win in eight matches

Tony Pulis: Looking to see his Stoke side earn only their second Premier League win in eight matches

Under-fire Blackburn boss Steve Kean is aiming to celebrate his new contract by leading the Premier League strugglers to their first win in over 21 years at Stoke.

Form guide: Stoke: WLLLL Blackburn: DLDLD Injuries: Stoke: Crouch, Etherington, Delap, Woodgate Blackburn: Samba, Olsson, Nelson Suspended: Stoke: None Blackburn: Dunn Sky Bet odds: Stoke 4/5, Draw 5/2, Blackburn 7/2 Opta stat: Stoke have fired in fewer shots on target (33) than any other team in the Premier League. Jamie Redknapp's Red Hot Tips: Walters 1st goalscorer 11/2 Bet on Saturday's match

Second-bottom Rovers visit the Britannia Stadium in Saturday lunchtime's televised match to face a home side aiming to end a wretched run of four straight league defeats.

Rovers owners Venky's confirmed this week that they have "formalised" Kean's contract, despite only leading his team to one top-flight win this season.

But they have been boosted by claiming a last-gasp draw at neighbours Wigan, which still leaves them four points adrift from safety.

Clinching a vital victory at Stoke, where they last won in April 1990, could close the gap on the likes of Wolves, Fulham and Sunderland who hover just above the bottom three.

Many would expect the game to lack an abundance of quality, but it could be an entertaining watch for the neutral with both sides shipping goals at an alarming rate.

Blackburn's leaky defence has conceded 27 goals this season, while letting in a whopping 14 goals in their last four matches has prompted the Potters' recent tumble down the table.

Tony Pulis lamented his team's defending in their 3-2 home defeat by QPR and will be hoping for a marked improvement against their Lancashire visitors.

The Welshman has urged his players to stay "level-headed" as they aim to go into a hectic December, where Stoke face eight Premier League and Europa League matches, on the back of a morale-boosting win.

Team news

Stoke striker Peter Crouch is the major injury doubt for Pulis' men.

Crouch has been nursing a groin complaint and, along with midfield pair Matthew Etherington and Rory Delap (both back problems), will undergo a late fitness test.

Potters boss Pulis has confirmed that goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, who was picked ahead of Asmir Begovic for last week's defeat against QPR, will keep his place in the starting XI.

Blackburn's defensive problems are not helped by the continued absence of key trio Chris Samba, Martin Olsson and Ryan Nelsen.

Samba and Olsson have both failed to recover from hamstring injuries, while knee injury victim Nelsen edges closer to a first-team comeback after returning to training.

Midfielder David Dunn is suspended after he was sent-off at Wigan, but Kean expects former Real Madrid man Michel Salgado to shake off a hamstring strain.

Possible starting XIs

Stoke: Sorensen; Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson; Pennant, Delap, Whelan, Whitehead; Walters, Jones.

Blackburn: Robinson; Salgado, Hanley, Dann, Givet; Nzonzi, Rochina, Formica; Pedersen, Hoilett, Yakubu.

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 38 87
2 Manchester City 38 79
3 Arsenal 38 75
4 Manchester United 38 70
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 64
6 Liverpool 38 62
7 Southampton 38 60
8 Swansea City 38 56
9 Stoke City 38 54
10 Crystal Palace 38 48
11 Everton 38 47
12 West Ham United 38 47
13 West Bromwich Albion 38 44
14 Leicester City 38 41
15 Newcastle United 38 39
16 Sunderland 38 38
17 Aston Villa 38 38
18 Hull City 38 35
19 Burnley 38 33
20 Queens Park Rangers 38 30


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