STOKE CITY will be looking to build upon the three points gained against QPR with another positive result from the trip to West Ham United on Monday night.
Tony Pulis’ side earned their second win of the campaign thanks to Charlie Adam’s second-half strike, but could find it tough going against a Hammers side who have quickly re-acquainted themselves with Premier League football after a one-year absence.
They currently occupy the heady-heights of sixth after collecting 18 points from their first 11 games, including five victories.
Sam Allardyce will be keen to keep fans and players’ expectations at a reasonable level, though, as he looks to re-establish the Londoners as the force they once were.
Monday’s televised clash will provide the perfect platform for City to ruin their day and pick up their first three points on the road.
West Ham United Fact-File
Full name: West Ham United Football Club
Stadium: The Boleyn Ground
Owners: David Sullivan and David Gold
Chairman: David Gold
Manager: Sam Allardyce
2011/12: 3rd (Championship, promotion via the Play-Offs), League Cup (First Round), FA Cup (Third Round).
Record League victory: 8-0 v Sunderland, 19/10/1968, First Division
Record League defeat: 2-8 v Blackburn Rovers, 26/12/1963, First Division
Record transfer fee paid: Undisclosed to Wolverhampton Wanderers for Matt Jarvis, 24/08/2012
Record transfer fee received: £18m from Leeds United for Rio Ferdinand, 26/11/2000
Introducing the Gaffer
SAM ALLARDYCE has gone above and beyond the remit laid out to him when he took over the West Ham United reins . . . following an excellent start to the 2012/13 season.
Since achieving his first aim of an instant return to the top-flight thanks to a play-off win over Blackpool, they have taken Premier League football in their stride and currently look odds-on to comfortably extend their stay.
Although their form may have earned a few unexpected nods of acknowledgement from those in the game, no-one should be surprised as Allardyce’s profile has been built on a reputation for getting the job done in English football’s biggest league.
Eight years of overachievement at Bolton Wanderers is the significant highlight of a managerial career that started in the humble surroundings of Limerick in the League of Ireland.
After earning his stripes in spells at Blackpool and Notts County, it was at the Reebok Stadium where people began to sit up and take notice after his revolutionary scientific approach and knack for getting the best out of experienced internationals helped the Trotters to record finishing positions.
A stint at Newcastle United didn’t go so well, but he was just getting into the swing of things at Blackburn Rovers before the Club’s new owners felt a change was necessary, much to the bafflement of the fans.
It appears the West Ham board are going to be much more loyal to the 58-year-old, and at the moment they’re reaping the benefits.
TONY PULIS is still unsure as to whether Glenn Whelan will be fit enough for selection after tweaking his hamstring in Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Greece midweek.
The central midfielder suffered a recurrence of the injury that has hampered his season so far, and was subsequently forced off after just 34 minutes in Dublin.
Dean Whitehead serves a one-match suspension for collecting five yellow cards, while Rory Delap (hernia) and Michael Owen (hamstring) will also miss out.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur (12:45)
Liverpool v Wigan Athletic
Manchester City v Aston Villa
Newcastle United v Swansea City
Queens Park Rangers v Southampton
Reading v Everton
West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea
Norwich City v Manchester United (17:30)
Fulham v Sunderland (Sunday, 16:00)
WEST HAM UNITED v STOKE CITY (Monday, 20:00)
All games kick-off at 15:00 on Saturday unless otherwise stated.
League: 25 Stoke City wins; 27 West Ham United wins; 16 draws
FA Cup: 3 Stoke City wins; 1 West Ham United win; 1 draw
League Cup: 2 Stoke City wins; 5 West Ham United wins; 2 draws
TOTAL: 30 Stoke City wins; 33 West Ham United wins; 19 draws
Last Five Encounters
Stoke City 2-1 West Ham United (FA Cup) – 13/03/2011
West Ham United 3-0 Stoke City (Premier League) – 05/03/2011
West Ham United 3-1 Stoke City (League Cup) – 27/10/2010
Stoke City 1-1 West Ham United (Premier League) – 18/09/2010
West Ham United 0-1 Stoke City (Premier League) – 27/03/2010
Stoke City win 14/5; West Ham United win Evens; draw 12/5
Referee – Chris Foy
MERSEYSIDE referee Chris Foy will be taking charge of his first Stoke City game of the season at Upton Park on Monday night.
He has so far overseen eight Premier League games, and has dished out the fewest cards per game than any other official in English football’s top flight.
He has refereed one West Ham United match this term – their 0-0 draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road back in September.
His most recent game also involved the Canaries after he took charge of their goalless draw at Reading last weekend.
Foy’s last Potters game came on the final day of last season. City’s 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers consigned Owen Coyle’s side to relegation to the Championship.