Match Preview: Stoke City vs. Cardiff City
The Bluebirds continue their Sky Bet Championship campaign as they travel to face the Potters on Saturday afternoon - kick-off at 3pm.
Important Travel Information
Supporters travelling to and from tomorrow’s game at the bet365 Stadium should allow extra time to make their journey as part of the A500 will be shut.
The southbound carriageway between the Porthill and Etruria junctions will shut from 3am tomorrow and will not reopen until 5am on Monday (February 24).
The southbound slip-roads at Porthill roundabout and Wolstanton Retail Park will be closed to traffic during that period. One lane of the northbound carriageway will remain open.
The closure is part of the A500 widening project and although a diversion route long the A5271, A50 and A53 will be in operation, there is expected to be widespread disruption.
Stoke City won't be selling away tickets on the day. Away Ticket Sales are currently around 1,300.
Cardiff City FC's Ticket Office will be selling tickets for this match until 4pm Friday (21/02/20).
If any supporters have tickets to collect or reprints they will need to go to turnstile 55 at the away end.
The Potters: Recent Form
Stoke City are currently in 21st place on the Sky Bet Championship league table, with 34 points earned so far in their current campaign. Their current tally leaves them outside the bottom three by three points, with only Wigan Athletic (31 points) Luton Town (30 points) and Barnsley (28 points) below them.
Having won two from their last five league matches, Stoke City's most recent victory came on Saturday, February 8th when they defeated Charlton Athletic 3-1 at home.
James McClean put the Potters ahead just before the half-hour mark, though they couldn't take their lead into the interval as Ben Purrington's volley brought the score level once again in the 45th minute.
Regaining their lead against the Addicks, Tom Ince struck home minutes after the restart, with Nick Powell doubling the lead 20 minutes later, the score proving insurmountable for the visitors.
Since the three points at the start of the month, the Potters have lost two consecutive fixtures, falling to defeats against Preston North End and Queens Park Rangers.
Lining up against the Rangers on February 15th, the Potters made a lead of two goals for themselves with two quick strikers around the 30 minute mark. However, they found themselves level at half-time due to two responding goals from their hosts, with Jordan Hugill and Ebere Eze finding the back of the net.
Overturning the lead by taking it for themselves, QPR then scored an additional two goals in the second half, and the Potters left the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium without any points to show for their efforts.
In the Hot Seat
Stoke City's manager is Michael O'Neill, who took over at the club on November 9th, 2019 following the departure of former manager Nathan Jones.
O'Neill is currently in the unusual position of managing two sides at once, having agreed to continue the Northern Ireland international side for the remainder of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, with the next match being a Play-Off Semi-Final against Slovakia on March 26th, 2020.
The former midfielder has held his current international side's role since 2011, and during his tenure the Green and White Army qualified for their first ever European Championship, held in France in 2016.
Reaching the knockout stages of the tournament, they bowed out following a narrow 1-0 defeat against Wales, with an own-goal by Gareth McAuley proving the difference.
Man to Watch
With a fine run of form this season, Sam Clucas has been Stoke City's main provider of goals during the 2019/20 league campaign.
Opening his account on the first day of the season with a goal scored against Queens Park Rangers, Clucas has now netted eight times this season for the Potters, including in his most recent outings for the club on Saturday.
Beginning his playing days with Leicester City's academy as a youth, the midfielder spent his early years as a senor player making appearances for clubs across various divisions, including Hereford United and Masnfield Town (league Two) as well as Chesterfield (lEague One), before making the move to play for Hull City, who were playing in the Championship.
Between 2015-2017, Clucas made 84 league appearances for the Tigers, earning promotion to the Premier League at the end of his first campaign with the club.
Having been nearly ever-present in their promotion campaign, the midfielder remained a regular for the side in the following season, scoring three goals in 37 league appearances during the 2016/17 season, when they were subsequently relegated.
Ahead of moving to play at the bet365 Stadium, Clucas spent a season with Swansea City, making 29 appearances for the club before departing for the Potters.