Stoke City head to Sunderland in the Championship this afternoon.
Stoke City make the trip up north to face Sunderland later today. It’s a return to the Stadium of Light for Potters boss Alex Neil who began the season as Sunderland manager, after guiding the club to promotion from League One last season.
But times are different now. Neil’s Stoke City are struggling down in 17th place of the table whilst Sunderland sit in 9th after a strong season so far under Tony Mowbray – nine points separate the two teams ahead of this one.
Stoke City team news
Compared to a lot of teams in the Championship, Stoke City’s injury list isn’t looking too bad right now. Ben Pearson missed the FA Cup clash v Brighton in midweek with cramp, and it remains to be seen whether or not he returns to action this weekend, whilst Phil Jagielka faces a late fitness check.
Nick Powell (knee) remains sidelined, but on loan goalkeeper Matija Sarkic can return to the side after being cup tied for the Brighton game.
Stoke gave a good account of themsleves against Brighton. Ben Wilmot and Axel Tuanzebe impressed at the back, but we should see Sarkic return in goal.
Another player who should return to the starting XI is Will Smallbone who started on the bench v Brighton – he’s featured 31 times for Stoke in the Championship this season, scoring twice.
This is another really tough game for Stoke City, but Neil will be hoping that his knowledge of this current crop of Sunderland players will see his side take some points back to the bet365 Stadium.
Today’s game kicks off at 3pm.