Predicted Stoke City starting XI v Blackburn with no James McClean


Michael O’Neill has selection decisions as Stoke City head to Blackburn, having had his hand forced over the previous few weeks.

An injury to Morgan Fox before Christmas left Stoke without a senior left-back, particularly when Josh Tymon was then laid low by Covid, so Stoke have been going with a wing-back system.

But the arrival of Rhys Norrington-Davies gives O’Neill a chance to revert to a back four and the signings of Rabbi Matondo and Jack Clarke give him options on the wing too, even with the suspension of James McClean.

There are dilemmas in more than the wing roles, however, and we have set up our selection widget to see which starting XI you would send out.

Joe Bursik will continue in goal, with Adam Davies and Angus Gunn only returning to training yesterday.

At right-back, the manager will weigh up between Tommy Smith and Nathan Collins and at centre-half Harry Souttar and James Chester seem to be in front of Danny Batth and Ryan Shawcross in the pecking order.

There is a traffic jam in central midfield now Joe Allen, Sam Clucas and John Obi Mikel are back in the squad, joining Jordan Thompson, Jordan Cousins and Tashan Oakley-Boothe – and there is a decision to be made about where star man Nick Powell fits into a 4-3-3.

Powell could be an option up front, where O’Neill also has Sam Vokes and Jacob Brown and Matondo, Clarke and the lesser spotted Tom Ince and Thibaud Verlinden on the wings. Steven Fletcher and Lee Gregory remain sidelined.

A possible starting XI for Stoke City at Blackburn.

The commenting system on StokeonTrentLive has undergone an overhaul and we want to get even closer to what you’re thinking by getting your comments and feedback on all of our stories, particularly where Stoke City debates are concerned.

Let us know which players you think should start – or not – against Blackburn by having your say in the comments section below.





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