Huge return on the bench for Stoke City but Morgan Fox misses out at Coventry



Joe Allen is in the Stoke City squad for the first time in nine months as Michael O’Neill makes four changes to his starting XI against Coventry.

Allen is named on the bench as Stoke look to build on a 1-0 home win over Blackburn Rovers last week. The 30-year-old midfielder came through a 75-minute run out for the under-23s on Monday and is thrown back into the fold for the Championship.

Joe Bursik, Nick Powell, James Chester and Steven Fletcher return to the side which lost 3-1 to Spurs in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.

O’Neill is expected to go with wing-backs due to the injury to Morgan Fox, who limped out of action in mid-week. John Obi Mikel also misses his eighth game since picking up a calf injury in a draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Billy McKinlay told Radio Stoke: “Fox felt in the first half against Spurs. We’re not quite sure how long he’ll be but he misses out today.”

You can follow the match live from St Andrew’s here.

He added: “They’re on a good run. They’ve only lost one in eight or nine games I think, a nice little run and they play with plenty of enthusiasm and organisation. They have a good shape. It’ll be a tough game today. Boxing Day is a good game for everybody. We’ve been fairly solid and consistent on our travels.”

Star men Gus Hamer and Matty Godden return for Coventry.

Godden comes straight in for the injured Tyler Walker, making his first start since November when he suffered a foot injury against Nottingham Forest, and starts up top on his own in what looks like a 3-4-2-1 formation.

Midfielder Hamer, meanwhile, returns from a one match suspension, coming in for striker Max Biamou, who drops to the bench.

Stoke: Bursik, Smith, McClean, Chester, Souttar, Collins, Thompson, Cousins, Powell, Brown, Fletcher. Subs: Lonergan, Allen, Batth, Ince, Vokes, Shawcross, Oakley-Boothe, Verlinden, Tymon.

Coventry: Wilson, Ostigard, McFadzean, Allen, O’Hare, Sheaf, Hyam, McCallum, Dabo, Gooden, Hamer. Subs: Camp, Biamou, Pask, Hilssner, Giles, Bakayoko, Shipley, Dacosta, Bapaga.





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