Foot Predictions shows Saturday’s league clash between Stoke City and Luton Town, including hunches, preview and possible lineups.
Stoke City to receive Luton Town at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon, having finally ended its two-month streak with no victories in the Championship.
Potters, ninth, have a five-point lead over visitors, who travel to Staffordshire after three losses in five games.
Having witnessed his team succumb to a 4-1 defeat at Norwich City over the weekend, Michael O’Neill he was aware that Stoke’s season was in danger of running out with a third of his remaining games.
However, the 1-0 win over Sheffield on Wednesday night could act as the catalyst needed to stay in the playoffs.
Stoke are still seven points behind sixth-placed Bournemouth, but O’Neill will at least feel that his Potters team can end with 11 games waiting for victory in all competitions.
While Steven FletcherGiuseppe’s late goal against his former club was only his seventh goal of the season, three of which were in the last five matches.
Luton City Chief Nathan Jones returns to his former club after a relatively quiet campaign, after somehow keeping Hatters in the second division last summer.
Even so, Jones will make sure to avoid further losses in the short term, with just four points won in the last five games.
Crucially, these points were earned against potential relegation rivals in Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City, ensuring that Luton can continue to focus on achieving some security in the middle of the table.
Although nine points separate Jones’ team from the worst three, he has reached a stage of the season when a defeat could result in a significant drop in qualification.
Compared to some of the teams around him, Luton has a more favorable game list over the next two weeks, but that only increases the stakes, as they try to keep their distance between them and the relegation zone.
Stoke City championship form: DLDDLW
Luton City Championship Form: WLLDWL
Luton Town form (all competitions): LLLDWL
All news from the teams
O’Neill is unlikely to take risks on Stoke defender Morgan Fox, who suffered an injury to the thigh tendon in the middle of the week.
Josh Tymon or Rhys Norrington-Davies, who is returning from suspension, is in line to replace, but Fletcher must be in shape despite a blow to his calf.
Tom Lockyer and Matty Pearson could be left out for Luton after suffering ankle and hamstring injuries against Cardiff City.
Jordan Clark and Martin Cranie are in line to replace the defensive pair, with Harry Cornick an alternative to Danny Hylton on the right flank.
Stoke loan Prick cannot play against his parent club.
Possible starting lineup for Stoke City:
Gunn; Smith, Souttar, Batth, Tymon; Allen, Thompson; Brown, Powell, McClean; Fletcher
Possible initial lineup for Luton Town:
Sluga; Clark, Cranie, Bradley, Potts; Mpanzu, Rea, Dewsbury-Hall; Hylton, Collins, Naismith
Probability: Stoke City 1-1 Luton Town
Stoke must find a way to use his final midweek victory to unleash a better return in the final third. However, facing a side of Luton that may be content with part of the spoils, we hope that a discreet encounter in the Pottery will end in a draw.
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