With no Stoke City matches to lighten the mood at the moment, we have dusted off the archives back to this stage of one of the most memorable recent seasons.
At this stage of 2007/08, Stoke sat top of the Championship but it was too close for comfort as they tried to seal an end to their 23-year top flight exile.
The previous weekend had seen a goalless draw at Watford and now Tony Pulis was preparing to welcome Blackpool to the Britannia Stadium.
Here we continue our day-by-day look back on the spring of 12 years ago. Here is the Sentinel’s back page from March 18, 2008.
Plan of attack – City boss keen to draft in loan striker
Tony Pulis wants a fox-in-the-box striker on Stoke City’s books in time for Saturday’s clash with Blackpool at the Britannia.
Pulis is scouring the fringes of Premier League clubs for possible cast-offs like Fulham’s David Healy to sharpen Stoke’s scoring potential over their last seven fixtures.
And his sense of urgency increased the moment Ricardo Fuller was booked at Watford on Saturday to rule himself out of City’s next two games.
Pulis, who has already given up the chase for Portsmouth’s David Nugent, said: “We are still trying to pursue one or two avenues with Saturday in mind.
“When Ric isn’t doing it, we need another threat. We need that player who has the pace to get behind defences like he can.”
Newcomer Jay Bothroyd was recruited on loan for a month from Wolves last Friday, but Pulis sees him as a replacement and/or option for Mama Sidibe in attack.
“Jay gives us another option because he has good ability to keep the ball. I also see him as an impact player in terms of his time on the pitch.”
Sidibe remains under close observation for the tweaked hamstring that forced him to miss the goalless stalemate at Watford.
The Mali striker will remain in cold storage for at least the next few days before a decision is made on his possible availability for Blackpool.
“We’ll give the big fella every chance,” said Pulis. “He’s a fit guy and generally a quick healer, but not one we dare take chances on with so many games still remaining. That’s why we never took the risk with him on Saturday because he’s another who should still have a big part to play.”
Stoke’s suspensions bite hard for the first time on Saturday as Liam Lawrence concludes his two-match ban, while Fuller and Ryan Shawcross begin theirs to complete a hat-trick of major absentees.