Hull City-Stoke City Preview
Both Stoke City and Hull City are hoping to build on recent victories as the Potters play host at Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Stoke (10-6-10) bounced back from successive 4-1 defeats, against Blackburn in the FA Cup and at home to Manchester City in the league, with a 2-1 win away over Aston Villa last weekend. Scott Sinclair headed Villa in front on 20 minutes before Mame Diouf equalised on the stroke of halftime. Victor Moses earned and converted a penalty in stoppage time to secure a last-gasp victory for the Potters, who are 10th in the standings on 36 points.
Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan is expecting a tough test against Hull.
"It is going to be a very difficult game for us and we all know that," Whelan told his club's website. "They have won their last two games against teams in and around them in the table. They will come here full of confidence and determined to keep this little run going.
"We will treat the fixture exactly the same as we would if we were playing one of the top two or three sides. We are just focussed on ourselves though right now and we know that if we can play to our maximum then we are more than a match for any team."
Hull (6-8-12) have climbed out of the bottom three after taking seven points from their last three matches. After securing a creditable draw at title-chasing Manchester City on Feb. 7, the Tigers beat both Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers at the KC Stadium to record their first back-to-back league victories of the season.
Nikica Jelavic volleyed Hull into a 16th-minute lead against Rangers last Saturday, before Charlie Austin equalised close to halftime, shortly after Hoops midfielder Joey Barton was red-carded for lashing out at Tom Huddlestone.
Hull attacked for most of the second half but had to wait until the 90-minute for Dame N'Doye to score and earn the Tigers a victory that lifted them to 15th place and six points above the relegation zone.
Tigers midfielder David Meyler praised his teammates for battling until the end to earn maximum points against Rangers.
"We showed good character and that is what it is all about," Meyler told his club's website. "It was a very tough game for us after QPR went down to ten men because at 1-1, they sat in and tried to limit our chances. Thankfully Dame has got his second goal in two games and we're all delighted for him.
"We've got Stoke next and we're all focused on that now. We need to keep building. We've got seven points from our last three games, let's try and make it ten from four now."
The Potters will be missing injured defenders Ryan Shawcross and Marc Muniesa, while United States international Geoff Cameron is available after suspension. Tigers will again be without long-term absentees Mohamed Diame and Liam Rosenior.
Stoke's home form (5-2-5) has been patchy and they have already lost five league matches this season. Last term, the Potters were beaten only three times in 19 league matches at the Britannia.
Hull have one won only one of their last 12 away matches in the Premier League.
The Potters' recent record against the Tigers is good, with four wins, six draws and only one defeat in 11 league matches.
Shawcross scored seven minutes from time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Stoke against 10-man Hull at the KC Stadium in August. Tigers defender James Chester was dismissed for a foul on Whelan after only 14 minutes, but the Yorkshire side still took the lead thanks to a Jelavic strike just before halftime.