Stoke v Sunderland preview
Last Updated: 26/10/12 10:46am
Tony Pulis: Hoping home soil advantage plays into Stoke's hands
Stoke and Sunderland are locked together in the Premier League table, but will be hoping to start climbing the division on Saturday.
Both sides have collected eight points so far, with the Potters having played a game more than their weekend rivals.
Just one win apiece suggests neither is in the best of form, with Tony Pulis and Martin O'Neill still searching for a spark to ignite their respective campaigns.
Lift-off could be achieved this weekend, with one performance often all it takes to shake off the shackles.
Stoke will feel that home advantage could play into their hands, but a 10-match unbeaten run at the Britannia Stadium stretches back to a meeting with Sunderland in February.
The Black Cats will be looking to repeat that particular away day trick on Saturday, but they have gone 11 games without a win on the road since overcoming the Potters.
Stoke boss Pulis could welcome midfielder Glenn Whelan back into his side.
Whelan returned to training on Thursday after recovering from the hamstring problem he picked up in the 0-0 draw at Liverpool.
Pulis has no other injury worries ahead of the clash at the Britannia but striker Cameron Jerome could be set to leave the club on loan before the weekend after Championship side Blackburn were strongly linked with a move for the player.
Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole is poised to return to O'Neill's plans.
The 24-year-old midfielder has missed the last three games through suspension after being sent-off for the seventh time in his career during the 2-0 Capital One Cup third-round victory at MK Dons on 25th September.
Full-back Phil Bardsley has a chance of being involved for the first time this season after making the bench for Sunday's derby draw with Newcastle following his recovery from an ankle injury, but central defender Titus Bramble (hip flexor) remains a doubt and Wes Brown (knee) is still sidelined.
- Stoke have scored a league high proportion of 75% of their goals in the first half of games this season.
- The Black Cats are one of only two teams (along with Arsenal) without a headed goal this season.
- Sunderland have fired in fewer shots on target than any other team in the top flight (12).
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 1 Begovic
- 20 Cameron
- 17 Shawcross
- 12 Wilson
- 5 Muniesa
- 15 N'Zonzi
- 6 Whelan
- 19 Walters
- 16 Adam
- 10 Arnautovic
- 25 Crouch
Team taken from Stoke City vs Chelsea (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 7th December 2013
- 25 Mannone
- 12 Celustka
- 16 O'Shea
- 5 Brown
- 2 Bardsley
- 7 Larsson
- 4 Ki
- 14 Colback
- 11 Johnson A
- 17 Altidore
- 9 Fletcher
Team taken from Sunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 7th December 2013
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|