Stoke City boss Michael O'Neill is a fortnight shy of a year in charge at the Bet365 Stadium and The Potters continue to make big strides forward under the former Northern Ireland boss.
O'Neill dragged City away from the relegation zone last season, losing just three of the final 13 games to end the season in 15th place, and has carried that form into this campaign. The Potters have been beaten just once in all competitions so far, that coming at home to Bristol City in September.
They are yet to win on home soil in the league following recent draws against Birmingham City and Barnsley but have taken seven points from a possible nine on their travels, without conceding.
They, like us, are still in the Carabao Cup, a Last Eight tie against Tottenham Hotspur their reward for wins over Blackpool, Gillingham, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Aston Villa.
Until Wednesday's 2-2 draw against Barnsley, no Stoke game this season had seen more than two goals, with both sides scoring in only three of their previous 17 matches, a run that stretches back to June.
There will be no Christian Norgaard and Mads Roerslev tomorrow while Shandon Baptiste, Charlie Goode, and Emiliano Marcondes all missed the midweek win over Sheffield Wednesday. Pontus Jansson [hamstring] is a doubt after he was forced off at Hillsborough.
Stoke also have a number of concerns ahead of the weekend. Skipper Sam Clucas [shin] is touch and go as are James McClean [foot], Jordan Cousins and Morgan Fox [calf] after all four missed the midweek draw against Barnsley. Nathan Collins is available after a successful red card appeal while Joe Allen and Ryan Shawcross are among the long-term absentees.
Michael O’Neill made more than 450 appearances, scoring 72 goals, in a playing career that saw spells at 12 clubs in four countries. He played in the English top flight for Newcastle United and Coventry, won the Football League Trophy with Wigan Athletic in 1999, and did a domestic treble at Glentoran in 2003. He also earned 31 caps for his nation, scoring four goals, before retiring in 2005.
He then moved into management with Brechin City before a hugely successful spell at Shamrock Rovers. In 2011, he made history by being the first League of Ireland manager to guide his side to the group stages of a European competition. His impressive record caught the eye of the Northern Ireland national team and he took charge later that year. He guided the nation to its first ever European Championship in 2016, eventually bowing out to Wales in the Last 16. Following his appointment at Stoke, O’Neill intended to continue with Northern Ireland for the remainder of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying. However, the postponement of Euro 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic led to his resignation as Northern Ireland boss in April.
🆚 Pete Smith from Stoke-on-Trent Live previews The Potters
⚖ Keith Stroud will be the man in charge tomorrow
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