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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 12 32
2 Southampton 12 26
3 Manchester City 12 24
4 Manchester United 12 19
5 Newcastle United 12 19
6 West Ham United 12 18
7 Swansea City 12 18
8 Arsenal 12 17
9 Everton 12 17
10 Tottenham Hotspur 12 17
11 Stoke City 12 15
12 Liverpool 12 14
13 West Bromwich Albion 12 13
14 Sunderland 12 13
15 Crystal Palace 12 12
16 Aston Villa 12 12
17 Hull City 12 11
18 Leicester City 12 10
19 Burnley 12 10
20 Queens Park Rangers 12 8

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