Premier League Preview: Stoke City v Manchester City
By Football News
Manchester City travel to Stoke City on Saturday looking for their first ever Premier League victory at the Britannia Stadium.
The 2011-12 champions have visited Stoke on five occasions since their return to the top flight in 2008, collecting just four points along the way.
The last four league meetings between the sides in the Midlands have ended in 1-1 draws, with Javi Garcia earning a point for the visitors after Peter Crouch's opener in the most recent clash there in September last year.
However, both sides go into this clash under new management, with Manuel Pellegrini having taken the reins at the Etihad Stadium after Roberto Mancini's departure late last season, while former City boss Mark Hughes has replaced Tony Pulis at Stoke.
Hughes spent 18 months at the helm at City between June 2008 and December 2009, and has lost three of his four meetings against them since leaving - games that came during his time in charge of Fulham and QPR.
But the Welshman will hope to emulate his record against his former employers from his period as manager of Blackburn Rovers between 2004 and 2008 - when he won four and drew four of his eight encounters with them - at his new club.
Another former City man looking to make an impression at Stoke is midfielder Stephen Ireland, who arrived at the Britannia Stadium on a season-long loan from Aston Villa on transfer deadline day.
The 27-year-old - who is in line to make his debut on Saturday - enjoyed the most productive season of his career under Hughes at the Etihad Stadium in 2008-09, when he scored nine Premier League goals.
And the former Republic of Ireland international cannot wait to work with the 49-year-old and his coaching team again.
"They are all really good people, and I mean it when I say that I am excited to be here working with them again, they are the best coaching staff that I have ever had," he told Stoke's official matchday programme.
Hughes has a fully fit squad to choose from for the game - a luxury not enjoyed by the man in the opposite dug-out.
Pellegrini will again be without captain Vincent Kompany, who is continuing to recover from a groin injury, while new signing Martin Demichelis is expected to be out for around another month with a knee problem and Micah Richards (hamstring) remains absent.
Playmaker David Silva is also a doubt after suffering a minor thigh complaint while on international duty with Spain.