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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)

ft

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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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 23 53
2 Manchester City 23 48
3 Manchester United 23 43
4 Southampton 22 42
5 Tottenham Hotspur 23 40
6 Arsenal 22 39
7 Liverpool 23 38
8 West Ham United 23 36
9 Stoke City 23 32
10 Swansea City 22 30
11 Newcastle United 23 30
12 Everton 23 26
13 Crystal Palace 23 23
14 Sunderland 23 23
15 West Bromwich Albion 23 22
16 Aston Villa 22 22
17 Burnley 23 20
18 Hull City 23 19
19 Queens Park Rangers 23 19
20 Leicester City 23 17

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