The Stoke City roadshow rolls into Luton Town this weekend for a fixture that might affect the nerves almost as much as the league table.
Stoke are currently five points clear of bottom side Luton with 11 matches remaining – and probably need another 12 points to guarantee their place in the Championship for next season.
Michael O’Neill ‘s side has bounced back from consecutive defeats with a home win over Cardiff and away draw at Blackburn Rovers.
This is now the first of half-a-dozen games against teams around them at the wrong end of the table – and here are all the details
When is the game?
It’s a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, February 15.
Stoke received an allocation of 1,032 tickets for the Oak Road Stand at Kenilworth Road. It’s the first trip there since a League Cup penalty shoot-out win in the autumn of 2015 – and in the league since August 2006. That was a 2-2 draw, if you’re interested, with Peter Sweeney and Luke Chadwick the scorers.
Is it on TV?
The match is not being broadcast live on television, but you will be able to follow everything as it happens via Stoke-on-Trent Live.
Goal clips will be shown on Sky Sports News from 6pm with extended highlights on Quest’s EFL highlights show from 9pm.
James McClean (knee) remains on the sidelines for Stoke while Ryan Shawcross (groin) has not been rushed since returning to training last week.
Michael O’Neill said: “I don’t like to change the team unnecessarily. We would be going to more inexperienced players at times if we did that. It’s different if you’re going to more experienced players. We have to be mindful that we don’t make the team too young and too inexperienced at times for the situation we are in.
“We’ll try to get consistency with selection as much as possible.”
Key Luton midfielder Izzy Brown is back after a bout of tonsillitis and Kazenga LuaLua (thigh) is in contention.
Graeme Jones said: “Izzy Brown is fit, he’s trained the last two days, so he’s looked a lot better.
“Kaz will be very close, I think we’re looking at Sonny Bradley for next week, so we’re delighted to have Izzy back.
“Izzy’s an important player full stop, I said that from minute one.
“He gives you something different that we haven’t got at the football club.”
Make your prediction: Luton Town v Stoke City
0+ VOTES SO FAR
Luton – 23/10
Draw – 12/5
Stoke – 6/5
- Luton Town have lost 10 of their last 14 league games against Stoke (W2 D2), losing 0-3 earlier this season.
- Stoke last visited Luton in August 2015 in a League Cup second round match, drawing 1-1 before progressing 8-7 on penalties.
- Luton have picked up nine points from their last four league games (W3 D0 L1), having won just 10 points in their previous 19 league games (W3 D1 L15).
- Stoke have kept five clean sheets in their last nine league games, as many as they’d kept in their previous 32 games.
- Luton are looking to win three consecutive home league games within the top-two tiers of English football for the first time since February 1996 (four in a row).
- Stoke have lost seven of their last 10 away games in all competitions (W2 D1), failing to win any of their last three (D1 L2) since a 1-0 win at West Brom.