Stoke City vs West Bromwich Albion Preview: Pulis returns to the Potteries for his 1000th game as a manager

Stoke City take on West Bromwich Albion at the Bet365 Stadium as Tony Pulis takes charge of his 1000th game as a manager against his former club.

Stoke City vs West Bromwich Albion Preview: Pulis returns to the Potteries for his 1000th game as a manager
Mark Hughes (left) and Tony Pulis (right) will meet once again in Pulis' 1000th game as a manager. (Image: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Stoke City take on West Bromwich Albion at the Bet365 Stadium as Tony Pulis takes charge of his 1000th game against his former club.

The Baggies manager crosses this famous landmark against the club in which he built up over half the one thousand appearances.

Milestone for Pulis as pressure mounts on Hughes

Pulis will be heading into the game against the Potters on the back of his side's 4-2 thrashing of West Ham last week, a result that lifted the pressure from speculation of him losing his job.

Another manager under pressure is Mark Hughes, the Potters manager has commented that the Stoke dressing room is "more than happy" after claims that loan striker Wilfried Bony was bringing the mood down around the training ground with a "lazy attitude".

Peter Coates has given his backing to Stoke boss also saying he has "full trust" in him as a manager and also confirming that dressing room morale is still high.

Stoke fans may feel like this game is a must-win after sitting bottom of the league for 3 straight weeks, gaining only one point thus far.

Form this season has been anything but good for the Potters, with the team only securing one draw and losing the other four games. For Stoke fans this is a worrying start to their 8th premier league campaign.

Wilfried Bony has yet to solve Stoke City's goalscoring problems since arriving on loan from Manchester City on transfer deadline day. | Photo: James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images
Wilfried Bony has yet to solve Stoke City's goalscoring problems since arriving on loan from Manchester City on transfer deadline day. | Photo: James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

A return to the Potteries for Pulis

Tony Pulis’ second stint at Stoke was lined with memorable games. Games such as the 5-0 thrashing of Bolton in the FA Cup semi-final back in 2011 or the game that Stoke clinched promotion to the Premier League. Games like this haven't happened for Stoke under their new boss as of yet, maybe this is why Tony Pulis is still so highly respected at his former club. Although it's no doubt that the football played under Mark Hughes is far more enjoyable to watch. 

The transition of the football played at Stoke City has changed dramatically since Tony Pulis lost his job and Mark Hughes was appointed, with the arrival of big name signings such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan, Stoke have made a different name for themselves in the Premier League as of late.

This is a massive game for both managers; it’s safe to say Mark Hughes will be the nervier of the two to start with but we all know the reception that Tony Pulis will receive will be very respectable after everything he did for the club.

A tough test for the Potters

The game will be a huge test for Stoke City and their manager with the visit of not only their former manager but the visit of their former football style, it will a test for how far the Stoke team have come in the last few years under the former Manchester City and QPR boss, a test Stoke fans may be anxious to see with their current form.

Stoke are missing a few key players who have been injured this season so far and, with the return of Glen Johnson and Shaqiri, who both could start against West Brom, this in particular game could be the starting block to build on for Stoke’s season.

The Potters have statistically never started well under Mark Hughes in the Premier League. However, they will be wanting to improve on their best ranked finish in the Premier League so far, which is 9th.

The signing of Xherdan Shaqiri last summer shows Stoke City's transformation under Mark Hughes. | Photo: Steve Welsh/Getty Images
The signing of Xherdan Shaqiri last summer shows Stoke City's transformation under Mark Hughes. | Photo: Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Team news

Stoke are without Ireland international Jonathan Walters with the same ankle injury that ruled him out of the 2-1 midweek defeat against Hull in the EFL Cup. They are also still without Jack Butland, Stephen Ireland and Ibrahim Afellay all through long term injuries sustained late last season.

Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri could feature after training with the team this week after his calf injury, while Ramadan Sobhi still awaits his first start for the Potters.

West Brom are in good health as the only player who’s not available to play is Chris Brunt who’s still recovering from a knee injury.