Stoke City - Newcastle United Preview: Toon face tough task at Britannia

After a long break since their last game, Newcastle United go in search of a vital three points when they travel to Stoke on Wednesday night.

Stoke City - Newcastle United Preview: Toon face tough task at Britannia
[Image: www.dailymail.co.uk]

Newcastle United will be looking to ease their relegation worries on Wednesday night when they travel down the country to face Stoke City.

The Magpies have had a long break - including a warm weather training break to La Manga - since their last game, which ended in a 5-1 defeat to Chelsea. Now they face a totally different prospect against the Potters.

This is big game for both sides, with different motives for that. Newcastle need a win to move away from the relegation zone, and Stoke need a win to end a disappointing run of form.

Background

Looking back at previous meetings between the two sides its hard to split them. In the last six meetings they share the form, two wins for Stoke, two for Newcastle and the last two games have ended in low-scoring draws.

Newcastle's recent form isn't really anything to shout and scream about, losing three of their last five Premier League fixtures. However, they have squeezed in two wins their against West Brom and West Ham - both at home.

Stoke, on the other hand, haven't really hit the heights that has been expected of them, although they have won their last two in the league. Unfortunately those wins have come against teams in the bottom six of the table, not good news for Newcastle.

Looking at the Geordie's record away to Stoke it doesn't look for good reading, with their last three visits their producing one goal and three loses.

Team News

Still a long list of injury problems for Steve McClaren, not ideal with it being such an important game. Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba both sit this game out and may not be back in the side for sometime.

McClaren is also missing key players such as, Vurnon Anita, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tim Krul. Good news is their defensive worries are eased, as Paul Dummett could return after a hamstring injury.

Stoke on the other hand don't have much to worry about really, with their current injury list now increasing. Glenn Whelan looks set to feature in some way for Mark Hughes on Wednesday.

Marc Muniesa coul boost the Potters as he looks set to return, while fellow defenders Geoff Cameron and Phil Bardsley.

Players to Watch

Jonjo Shelvey: Not only will this be a massive game for Newcastle, but it could probably be Shelvey's biggest and most important game in a Newcastle shirt. He looks set to take the captains armband in the absence of Coloccini, and what a game to do it in. He could potentially run the show on Wednesday night, provided he shows the passing ability he is capable of.

Marco Arnautovic: When you score two goals in your previous game, then your confidence is going to be sky-high. The midfielder is big, strong, pacey and he can cause Newcastle's fragile defence some real problems. Give him the ball and let him run, that's what the Stoke players need to do, and with the players around him it could be a high scoring game.