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Preview: Stoke City vs. Brentford - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship fixture between Stoke City and Brentford, including team news and predicted lineups.

Brentford square off against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking to extend their winning run in the Championship to nine matches.

Meanwhile, the Potters play host to the promotion contenders realistically requiring just one point to guarantee their second-tier status for another 10 months.

Match preview

Brentford boss Thomas Frank on February 8, 2020© Reuters

With West Bromwich Albion facing Huddersfield Town on Friday night, Thomas Frank has been left with a difficult job when it comes to getting his players focused ahead of this contest.

However, like he has done since the resumption, Frank will reiterate that his squad simply must focus on the next game, rather than hoping for another slip-up from their rivals for second place.

Despite the tension involved in their 1-0 win over Preston North End in midweek, that experience can only benefit the Bees, who were under pressure to take advantage of West Brom only recording a draw with Fulham.

That has reduced the gap between the clubs to one point, and Frank's priority will be to ensure that they remain in with a chance of automatic promotion heading into the final day of the campaign.

Nevertheless, with the playoffs currently representing their most likely avenue regarding potential Premier League promotion, Frank will want his side to continue to build momentum via a ninth triumph in succession.

From Stoke's perspective, collecting seven points from their last four matches has put the club on the brink of avoiding an unthinkable drop into the third tier.

Although a 5-0 defeat to leaders Leeds United has featured in that run of games, Michael O'Neill has witnessed the Potters collect important wins over Barnsley and Birmingham City.

With a further point being recorded at Bristol City on Wednesday night, Stoke will remain in the Championship unless Barnsley and Hull City win their remaining matches.

Despite O'Neill claiming that he will not celebrate their likely survival, the Northern Irishman deserves huge credit for recording 42 points from his 29 league games in charge.

Stoke City Championship form: LLWLWD

Brentford Championship form: WWWWWW

Team News

Stoke City boss Michael O'Neill pictured on June 30, 2020© Reuters

Stoke boss O'Neill may hand a recall to Tyrese Campbell, who missed out to Sam Vokes against Bristol City.

Tom Ince is also an option on the right flank at the expense of Lee Gregory.

Despite the short turnaround, Frank is unlikely to contemplate any major alterations to his starting lineup.

The one switch could see Josh Dasilva return in the centre in midfield, with Mathias Jensen dropping down to the substitutes' bench.

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Davies; Smith, Chester, Batth, Martins Indi; Clucas, Cousins; Ince, Powell, McClean; Campbell

Brentford possible starting lineup:
Martin; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Marcondes, Norgaard, Dsilva; Mbuemo, Watkins, Benrahma

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We say: Stoke City 1-2 Brentford

While we feel that this contest could be more competitive than many expect, Brentford will be confident of eventually wearing down their hosts, potentially during the latter stages when Stoke are content to avoid defeat.

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Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured on July 4, 2020
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