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Be very surprised if he drops Luke Young. While we didnt have a great team performance against Everton, we had a good defensive one and dropping the lad would be extremely harsh after his last game. Rotation should not matter as any internationals wont have play for at least 6 days and people like Young havent played in 2 wks. Rotation should only kick in later in the season not 4 league games in.

Id leave Ireland on the bench and hopefually bring him on with 25 to go if the games in the balance. With Gabby fit he has to start so maybe a case of 4-5-1 away from home again.

Predicting 2 wins this week ( Nothing if optimistic! )

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Got to be:


Cuellar      Collins     Dunne     Warnock


        Reo-Coker           Downing

Albrighton                           Young


Friedel isn't great for collecting high-balls but he's still better than Guzan so keep him in. Although because of this he needs as much protection as possible against the long Delap throws and Etherington corners so Cuellar has to be at right-back to put 3 big men in the centre for set-pieces.

Petrov is great at breaking up play in front of the back four. I'd say he's one of the best in the world at sitting deep and choosing the right moment to intercept and then playing himself out of trouble or drawing the foul.

Reo-Coker for the energy. He's pretty good positionally too so will drop in when Petrov goes forward.

Albrighton is currently very dangerous as a right-winger and if we can keep his confidence going and he keeps trying to take players on, his centres will be very effective.

Ashley Young needs to try and get at the full back as much as possible, pull him out of position and make space for Gabby.

Downing is a difficult one, I think he's too lightweight for the centre but he can get at the full back too and make space for Ashley Young to move inside and with Stan and NRC behind he should be able to attack without getting caught out too often.

I think this game needs to be a park-the-bus type of affair and just sit very deep, keeping well organised. Stoke play deep anyway and will not leave any space around the back so we need to try and coax them out so we can hit them on the break. With Ireland as the free agent we should be able to get some decent breaks on the go. The key to all of this is the back 5. If they keep organised and put their bodies on the line when it counts we'll win, if they don't we'll lose.

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Hope Ireland is ok for this I really want to see him and gabby linking up. The few flashes of play from Stevie shows he knows how to pick a through ball which could prove invaluable against teams with big lumbering centre halves and bus parkers. I'm very much in the don't play him in the centre with petrov camp.

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Young      Collins     Dunne     Warnock

       Petrov                Reo Coker


Albrighton                           Young


That's my team if everyone is fit. Looks like Ireland will miss out though, so I'd play Ashley where Ireland is, and Downing on the left. I'd certainly go with 2 defensive midfielders against that tough Stoke midfield though.

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