There was no need to explain just how much rests on the result this afternoon as Stoke City host Hull at the bet365 Stadium – and Stoke passed the test with flying colours.
An outrageous seven-minute spell in the first half saw Michael O’Neill’s side race into a three-goal lead. Nick Powell and Sam Clucas struck either side of a Tyrese Campbell penalty.
Joe Allen, however, suffered an injury when he landed awkwardly seconds before the half-time whistle and needed to be wheeled away on a stretcher.
Clucas and Powell both got a second after the break and, although Hull pulled a consolation goal back through Leonardo da Silva Lopes, they fall to 21st while Stoke climb to 17th.
Ryan Shawcross returned to the bench but Jordan Cousins (ankle) was out.
We will bring you all the latest Stoke City debate, news and gossip throughout the day – and all the action as it happens.