Its Crunch time
With this being the tenth game of the League campaign, this could well be the cut off that many supporters have given as to whether they feel Tony Pulis should stay or go. With the Anti TP & PC brigade gathering momentum as results don't go the way that TP would wish, this game now becomes a 'virtual' make or break game for Tony and his supporters. If Stoke come away with at least a draw, then maybe the Tony will be given a respite, anything less and you can guarantee that there will be a section of the crowd on his case, although if we go behind, I for one fully expect the muppets to start the chants of 'Pulis out' from as early as the 20th minute.
Preston have had an impressive start to the season and currently sit in 4th place having acquired 16 points and sit just four pints off the top spot. Already this season, they have beaten a few of the pre season favourites for this division in Wolves and WBA, and have also beaten, and inflicted the only defeat on early pacesetters Cardiff City. The goals have been scored throughout the team with obvious candidates, Patrick Agyemang and David Nugent leading from the front. Preston have in fact scored just two goals more than Stoke, yet there are 19 places between the teams. with Stoke struggling to find the defensive qualities associated with a Tony Pulis team.
This could well be Ricardo Fuller's home debut against his former club, so he will be going all out to show them what they are missing, as any Stoke fan will recall, he made life for Stoke very uncomfortable while playing for Preston against us two years ago. Vincent Pericard could also be ready to re-take his place after he tweaked his hamstring against Sheffield Wednesday and should be back in training this week if all goes well. If Vincent doesn't make it, then we can expect to see Mama going up top, or dropping off as he has done all season.
Midfield is where we really need to be strengthening and although TP knows this, to date, he has not been able to bring anyone in. With Clint Hill being suspended for one game having recieved two yellow cards in the loss at Wolves, There will be more than one or two Stokies who will be taking a very close look at the back four that plays on Saturday. If TP insists that Carl Hoefkens is still too tired to play in defence, and brings in either Wilko or Dicko to cover for the absent Hill, then that alone will cause more than enough grief before a ball has even been kicked.
Most supporters would go for a back line of... Carl, Doobs..Higgy.. Griff in this instance, but what TP will be doing is anybodies guess.Midfield will probably be the usual suspect of Chadders. Russell.Brammer and Sweeney. If Preston continue to play football this season in the way in which they have played in previous seasons, then we will either compete and do really well or just collapse like a pack of cards and get battered for the whole game defending like trojans on the 18 yard line.More news as is comes in will be posted on the forum.Preston fans have been told they can pay on the gate. so this could add a few hundred to the crowd in what may well be a fair turn out.