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.
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.
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.
Article continues after the advert
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.
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
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.