Full debut among five chances in Stoke City XI v Watford



Jack Clarke makes his first start for Stoke City as they take on Watford this evening.

Michael O’Neill has made five changes in his starting XI following a 3-3 draw with Rotherham, with James Chester returning from suspension and a complete shuffle up front.

Clarke comes in on the right wing and James McClean is back on the left, with Nick Powell asked to the lead the line after two star turns at inside left.

Sam Clucas gets the nod in central midfield with Joe Allen recalled too alongside John Obi Mikel.

You can follow the game live here.

Billy McKinlay told Radio Stoke: “I thought (Jack) did really well when he came on at Rotherham. He had an impact on the game. Rabbi (Matondo)’s not played a lot of football in the last six months and he’s played two games in the last week so it’s some fresh legs and we hope we see a good performance from Jack.”

He added: “Sam played in the cup game against Leicester. He’s chomping at the bit. We just feel his goal threat can help tonight.

“Prior to the Rotherham game we have just struggled to create chances, although we thought we did enough in that sense against Bournemouth and Blackburn.

“We’re short of goals so hopefully Sam can bring that to the team.”

Angus Gunn is back on the bench after Adam Davies suffered a minor hamstring injury – and Joe Bursik keeps his place.

“I’m surprised if anyone is surprised that Joe starts,” said McKinlay. “He’s been terrific since he’s come in. We didn’t cover ourselves in glory defensively the other night but we’ve got 100 per cent faith in Joe and he deservedly keeps his place.”

Stoke: Bursik, Collins, Souttar, Chester, Norrington-Davies, Mikel, Allen, Clucas, Clarke, McClean, Powell. Subs: Gunn, Batth, Vokes, Smith, Brown, Fletcher, Cousins, Thompson, Matondo.

Watford: Bachmann, Femenia, Troost-Ekong, Sierralta, Masina, Cleverley, Chaolbah, Hughes, Sarr, Deeney, Joao Pedro. Subs: Parkes, Ngakia, Navarro, Wilmot, Cathcart, Garner, Zinckernagel, Crichlow, Gray.





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