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Paolo's Preview: Stoke no joke after international break

Peterborough United return to action this weekend after the final international break of the year as they travel to Bet365 Stadium to face Stoke City in the Sky Bet Championship.
Stoke

Darren Ferguson’s men have had the last two weeks to reflect on their previous game that saw Posh narrowly fall to defeat against free-scoring Fulham at the Weston Homes Stadium, despite arguably having the better chances.

Posh has have just one victory in eight games on the road – the worst away record in the Championship - bu

So, they will be hoping to forget their recent away troubles when Posh travel to face Stoke City on Saturday afternoon (3pm).

Team News and Predicted Line-up

Experienced defender Nathan Thompson will return to the squad after being suspended in the defeat against Fulham for reaching the yellow-card limit. Joel Randall and Ricky Jade-Jones are unlikely to be involved this weekend despite both returning to training over the last couple of weeks.

Thompson who returns after serving a one-match ban following his fifth booking which he picked up in the 1-1 draw against Huddersfield. 

He spoke to Posh TV and said: "The International break that we have had enables us to work on stuff on the pitch, so we can address what's been letting us down on the pitch and hopefully go there and pick up some much needed points away from home"

Jack Marriott (hamstring) remains unavailable for the trip to Stoke City while new signing Kai Corbett, who signed earlier this week from West Ham United, will feature for the U23s on Friday afternoon.

Predicted Line-up: Cornell, Thompson, Beevers, Kent, Edwards, Butler; Norburn, Taylor; Szmodics, Clarke-Harris, Dembele.

Opposition View

It has been four seasons since Stoke City were in the Premier League, and after three difficult years in the Championship, the Potters are looking confident of at least reaching the play-off spots this campaign.

Michael O’Neill, who took over at the Bet365 Stadium in November 2019, has steered his team to fifth in the table so far this season, 12 points behind league leaders AFC Bournemouth.

They welcome Posh after only losing once at home so far this season, only losing once, and currently acquire the fifth best home record in the Championship.

Speaking in his pre-match interview to Posh.com, Ferguson acknowledges how tough Stoke City can be at home.

“Stoke is always a tough place to go, we know that, but we have to focus on ourselves. We know that our away form has not been good enough and we know that the questions will keep coming about it until we start winning games. We have to change that, me, my management team and the players, only we can change that. We have been working hard this week and we will go there and try and take the game to them.”

Past Meeting

Remarkably, these two sides haven’t met since 2002 in League One – or what was known as League Division 2 at the time – with Stoke City narrowly beating Posh.

Soccer AM presenter Jimmy Bullard was in the starting 11 for Posh, which saw Stoke City’s Arnar Gunnlaugsson scored a marvellous volley in the 10th minute to give the hosts the three points.

This continued a remarkable return for The Potters, who increased their unbeaten record against The Posh to 12 games and have yet to lose against the East Anglian side in any competition.

Last Five Meetings

Stoke City 1-0 Posh – Mar 2002

Posh 1-2 Stoke City – Jan 2002

Posh 0-4 Stoke City – Feb 2001

Stoke City 3-0 Posh – Sep 2000

Stoke City 3-0 Posh – Apr 1994

Peterborough Matters Prediction

Based on Posh's current away form, you wouldn’t be surprised to see many supporters not confident heading to the Bet365 Stadium, especially myself. However, Ferguson has had two weeks to work with the players mindset and they displayed a great performance against promotion-hopefuls Fulham FC.

Stoke City 1-1 Posh