PETER CROUCH is confident Stoke City can put their recent struggles behind them and rise to the challenge against the Champions elect Manchester United on Sunday.
The Potters are just three points above the drop zone in the Barclays Premier League after back-to-back defeats at the hands of Everton and Aston Villa.
United, on the other hand, are twelve points clear at the top of the Premier League table and will go into the game at the Britannia Stadium strongly-tipped to take a significant step closer to their 20th League title triumph.
But traditionally, Stoke have performed well against the big four on home soil and Crouch believes they can spring a surprise against Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
Speaking to The Potters Matchday magazine for Sunday’s game, the England international insisted: “When the bigger sides come here we have normally performed really well and given them a tough, tough afternoon.
“We have arguably produced our best football this season against the top five or six Clubs so hopefully we can continue that against United.
“We have not beaten them in the Premier League since winning promotion, but that has to change at some point – hopefully, it will be this time.
“I think sometimes, it’s better for us when we play the big teams because we’re not expected to do anything, but Stoke City usually come up trumps when the odds are against us.”
Crouch, who opened his goal account for the Club in last season’s 1-1 draw with United at the Britannia, which earned Stoke their first – and, to date, only - Premier League point against Ferguson’s men, has revealed that spirit in the camp remains positive.
He added: “The manager is calm, the players are all relaxed, but at the same time we know what we need to do. We have been sharp in training so hopefully we can carry that onto the pitch with us in time for kick-off.”
There’s more from Crouch in the Matchday Magazine, which will be on sale prior to kick-off on Sunday, priced at just £3.50.
The 100-page perfect-bound publication is packed full of interviews and features with all of your favourite City stars, including former United youngster Marc Wilson (Socially Speaking) and Ryan Shotton (Getting To Know).
Tony Pulis delivers his pre-match thoughts in his exclusive column, while Chief Executive Tony Scholes, skipper Ryan Shawcross, Nigel ‘The Voice’ Johnson, and fans-favourite Mickey Thomas offer their thoughts.
Memories of Mark Stein's brace in Stoke’s Coca-Cola Cup win over United in 1993 are also revived in the Main Event feature.
Make sure you pick up a copy ahead of the BIG game from one of the many distributors situated around the stadium or online by clicking HERE.