Premier League Preview: Stoke City v Crystal Palace
By Football News
Stoke City and Crystal Palace will each be out to clinch their first points of the term when they meet at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Both teams made a losing start to the new campaign, Stoke succumbing to a 1-0 loss at Liverpool in Mark Hughes' first competitive game in charge, while newly promoted Palace were defeated by Tottenham at Selhurst Park by the same scoreline.
Stoke will have left Anfield feeling unfortunate not to have snatched a point after Jonathan Walters' late penalty was saved by Simon Mignolet but, despite that disappointment, Hughes' men should be confident of sealing victory at their home ground, where they lost just five times in the league last term.
Even with that impressive record, Stoke only avoided relegation by six points, and Hughes will again be targeting fine home form if they are to avoid being sucked into a dogfight again.
Stoke head into the contest with a near fully-fit squad to choose from, with midfielders Wilson Palacios (illness), Brek Shea (knee) and Jamie Ness (knock) the only absentees.
Charlie Adam is fit for the game, and the Scot is hoping that Stoke can atone for their defeat against Liverpool.
"Last weekend we were disappointed because we felt that we could have got something out of what was a very difficult opening game for us, unfortunately it just wasn’t to be," Adam told the club's official website.
"That is behind us now though, and the biggest objective now is to go and earn all three points against Crystal Palace in front of our own supporters."
Recent form favours Hughes' side. Stoke eased to a 4-1 triumph over Palace in an FA Cup third-round replay last season, although the London club did win in the last league meeting between the two sides, securing a 2-1 victory in the Championship in 2008.
Palace manager Ian Holloway should be able to take heart from a decent performance against Tottenham though, with the visitors needing a second-half penalty from Roberto Soldado to secure the points last Sunday.
However, the Premier League new boys are without a number of first-team players, Jerome Thomas is out with an ankle complaint, while Yannick Bolasie has a hamstring problem
Glenn Murray is still unavailable with a knee ligament injury, and captain Paddy McCarthy is also a doubt as he recovers from a groin problem.