Norwich City vs Stoke City – Match Preview

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Michael O’Neill’s Stoke City side travel to Carrow Road on Saturday where they take on promotion chasing Norwich City.

The Potters will be hoping to build on last weekend’s clean sheet and point against Reading with their first win in 10 games in all competitions, against a Norwich side whose form has faltered as of late.

Stoke currently sit in ninth place in the Sky Bet Championship table, six points behind a play-off spot, but the Potters will know that they will have to start winning sooner or later to keep their play-off ambitions alive.

Meanwhile, Norwich will be hoping to get their automatic promotion charge back on track after having not won a match in four games in all competitions.

The Canaries do however still sit in second place, though Swansea City lie just two points behind them with an extra game in hand on Daniel Farke’s side.

Key Players

Nick Powell – Stoke City

Nick Powell’s return from injury provides a big boost for Michael O’Neill after his side have struggled for goals as of late.

Powell’s return to the front line may give the Potters some much needed fire power, with Stoke only managing one goal and three shots on target in their last two games.

Teemu Pukki – Norwich City

The Finnish international has been a revelation since arriving at Carrow Road in 2018, and his form will be critical to Norwich’s chances of an immediate return to the Premier League this season.

Pukki has directly contributed to 12 goals for the Canaries this season, scoring 11 of those, making him the club’s top-scorer for the current campaign.

Team News

Stoke City

Stoke manager Michael O’Neill has said that Nick Powell could return to the Stoke squad after his lay-off with a hamstring injury, which has caused him to miss the Potters last two fixtures with Huddersfield Town and Reading, though he may not be thrown straight into the starting line-up.

James Chester could also return to the Potters squad after missing last weekend’s draw with Reading whilst Morgan Fox is also fit for the game at Carrow Road.

Predicted Stoke line-up: Gunn, Collins, Souttar, Batth, Fox, Allen, Obi, Clucas, Clarke, Fletcher, McClean.

Norwich City

Michael McGovern, Jordan Hugill and Sam Byram are all unavailable for Daniel Farke’s side on Saturday, whilst the fitness of Marco Stiepermann remains a doubt.

Aside from this the rest of Farke’s squad is expected to be a clean bill of health and available for Saturday’s clash.

Predicted Norwich line-up: Krul, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Sorensen, McLean, Skipp, Cantwell, Rupp, Placheta, Pukki.

Last Time Out

Stoke City 2-3 Norwich City – Tuesday 24th November 2020

The reverse fixture between these two sides proved to be a bit of a thriller earlier in the campaign, with the Potters almost mounting a comeback having been 3-0 down with just over 20 minutes of the contest remaining.

Emiliano Buendía had given the Canaries an 18th minute lead before a Teemu Pukki brace gave Daniel Farke’s side a three-goal advantage with 30 minutes of the game remaining.

But Buendía’s 69th minute red-card sparked the Potters back into life and Tyrese Campbell pulled a goal back for the hosts almost immediately.

Nathan Collins headed in from Sam Clucas’ ball into the box with just over ten minutes remaining, but it was not enough for the Potters to salvage a point from a game that had seemingly ran away from them midway through the second-half.

Pre-Match Thoughts

Michael O’Neill was delighted to confirm that forward Nick Powell could return to the squad this weekend at his pre-match press conference, whilst also announcing that James Chester and Morgan Fox could be fit for Saturday’s clash.

“Nick’s trained all week so he’s fit and we have no new injury concerns.”

The player who’s missing is Rhys Norrington-Davies, who is still suspended, everyone else is fine”

“James Chester is back and Morgan Fox had no reaction to coming back last week.”

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