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

Sports Mole previews Friday's Championship clash between Bristol City and Stoke City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Bristol City will host Stoke City in the Championship on Good Friday looking to record their first league double over the visitors since the 1906-07 season.

The Robins have won just one of their last five league games, while the Potters have secured three points in just two of their last seven matches.


Match preview

New Watford boss Nigel Pearson on December 14, 2019© Reuters

The appointment of Nigel Pearson in February seems to have steadied the ship at Bristol City, as they have accumulated seven points from his first six games in charge. However, he has yet to change their fortunes at Ashton Gate, as the Robins suffered their sixth successive home defeat just before the international break.

After losing to both Bournemouth and Queens Park Rangers earlier in March, Bristol City were then defeated 2-0 at home to relegation-threatened Rotherham United, thanks to goals either side of half time from Michael Smith and Richard Wood.

That result saw the Robins slip to 14th in the Championship, and Pearson's hopes of guiding his new side into the playoffs now seem unlikely as they are 13 points behind the top six with just eight matches left to play.

Defensive frailties have been a consistent problem for Bristol City, who have kept just nine clean sheets – only Rotherham and basement club Wycombe Wanderers have recorded fewer in the division this term; the Robins are also one of only four Championship teams who have conceded at least 50 goals.

Bristol City were able prevent Stoke from scoring earlier this season, when they secured a 2-0 victory at the bet365 Stadium in September, and will be hoping to secure their fourth win in five meetings against them on Friday.

Stoke City's Jacob Brown celebrates scoring their first goal on March 20, 2021© Reuters

Unlike the Robins, Stoke City have shown their defensive strengths this season and are one of three Championship sides – along with Watford and Swansea City – who have kept 18 clean sheets, the joint-most in the division.

Michael O'Neill's men claimed their third clean sheet in four matches with a narrow 1-0 victory over Derby County before the international break, when a late header from Jacob Brown sealed all three points on home soil.

Nick Powell provided the assist for Brown, and he has now contributed to 14 goals for the Potters so far this season, with 11 goals and three assists. The last time the former Manchester United midfielder was involved in more goals was during the 2017-18 League One campaign with Wigan Athletic, where he found the net 15 times and provided six assists.

Stoke have failed to win any of their last four meetings with Bristol City, but they have only lost two of their last nine visits to Ashton Gate, winning three and drawing the other four games.

Victory on Friday could see the Potters move into the top 10 of the Championship and seven points behind sixth-placed Reading if they were to lose away at Barnsley.

Bristol City Championship form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L

Stoke City Championship form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W


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Team News

Bristol City's Kasey Palmer celebrates with team mates after scoring their second goal on February 27, 2021© Reuters

Bristol City centre-back Nathan Baker is edging ever closer to a first appearance of the season after suffering a hamstring injury six months ago, and he could be in contention to make the matchday squad on Friday.

Captain Tomas Kalas was withdrawn just before the half-hour mark in the defeat to Rotherham after falling awkwardly and injuring his hip, but the defender is in contention to return to the heart of the defence.

Tommy Rowe is also available for selection after recovering from a knee ligament injury which he sustained in late January.

Forward Nahki Wells, who scored in the reverse fixture against the Potters, is expected to keep his place in the starting lineup despite failing to score in each of his last five games.

Stoke have been dealt an injury blow as key midfielder Joe Allen picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty with Wales and is a major doubt for the trip to Ashton Gate.

Striker Steven Fletcher missed the win against Derby with concussion but having had time over the international break to recover, the Scot is hoping to return to the side on Friday.

Tyrese Campbell (knee), Sam Clucas (hernia) and Nathan Collins (foot) are all ruled out for the rest of the season with injuries.

Bristol City possible starting lineup:
Bentley; Hunt, Kalas, Mariappa, Sessegnon; Massengo, Nagy; Wells, Palmer, O'Dowda; Diedhiou

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Davies; Chester, Souttar, Batth; Smith, Mikel, Thompson, Norrington-Davies; Powell, Clarke; Brown


SM words green background

We say: Bristol City 0-1 Stoke City

Bristol City have failed to score in seven of their last 11 Championship games, while 11 of Stoke's 13 league victories this season have come with a clean sheet, including each of their last seven.

The Potters lost the reverse fixture back in September, but we feel that they have enough to seal a narrow victory at Ashton Gate and their solid defensive foundations could prevent the hosts from scoring once again.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
2Watford432510860283285
3Bournemouth4322111073423177
4Swansea CitySwansea4322101152341876
5Brentford422015772413175
6Barnsley43228135546974
7Reading4319111357461168
8Queens Park RangersQPR431711155151062
9Cardiff CityCardiff4316131459471261
10Middlesbrough43179175148360
11Millwall431417124244-259
12Luton TownLuton42169173646-1057
13Stoke CityStoke431414154749-256
14Preston North EndPreston43157214455-1152
15Bristol City43156224258-1651
16Coventry CityCoventry431312184258-1651
17Blackburn RoversBlackburn431311195449550
18Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest431214173542-750
19Birmingham CityBirmingham431213183351-1849
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield431211204563-1847
21Derby CountyDerby431110223151-2043
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham41116244256-1439
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds43129223655-1939
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe43910243467-3337

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