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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's FA Cup clash between Stoke City and Leicester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Premier League high-fliers Leicester City begin their FA Cup campaign with an away match against Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.

The Foxes make the trip to the bet365 Stadium sitting third in the top flight, while opponents Stoke are eighth in the Championship.

Match preview

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring against Manchester United in the Premier League on December 26, 2020© Reuters

Leicester are unbeaten in four league matches and enter this game on the back of a 2-1 win at Newcastle United last weekend.

That victory, combined with Liverpool's shock loss to Southampton, leaves Brendan Rodgers's side just a point off top spot.

Having narrowly missed out on a Champions League spot last season - the consolation prize being a place in the Europa League - City are well in the mix for a top-four finish again this term.

Indeed, with a Europa League last-32 tie with Slavia Prague to come next month, the Foxes are still competing for silverware on three fronts in the second half of 2020-21.

The FA Cup will be considered another realistic opportunity to win some silverware, though this is a competition Leicester have never previously won, reaching the final on four previous occasions without lifting the famous cup.

Stoke City's Nick Powell celebrates scoring their first goal against Blackburn Rovers on December 19, 2020© Reuters

Stoke, likewise, have never previously gone all the way, reaching the final just once before - in 2010-11, when going down 1-0 to Manchester City at Wembley.

Winning the FA Cup this season is not the Potters' main target, of course, but rather earning promotion from the Championship.

Michael O'Neill's side are winless in three league matches, but they remain just two points adrift of the playoff spots with a sizeable chunk of the campaign still to go.

Stoke, who were eliminated from the EFL Cup at the quarter-final stage by Tottenham Hotspur last month, have a poor record in the FA Cup, losing each of their last four third-round ties.

Leicester, meanwhile, have progressed from all five of their FA Cup ties against Championship opposition since they won promotion to the Premier League in 2014.

Stoke City form (all competitions): DWLDDL

Leicester City form (all competitions): WLWDDW

Team News

Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho celebrates after the match on December 28, 2020© Reuters

Key striker Tyrese Campbell, who has six goals in 16 Championship outings this term, remains out for the home side through injury.

Steven Fletcher, Lee Gregory, Morgan Fox, Angus Gunn and Adam Davies are Stoke's other likely absentees for Saturday's match.

As for Leicester, James Maddison is carrying a knee injury, while Jamie Vardy is another who will not be considered for selection, but Ricardo Pereira may make his return.

Rodgers is likely to make changes on the back of the win over Newcastle, with the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho and Dennis Praet among those in line for a recall.

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Bursik; Collins, Souttar, Chester; Smith, Allen, Mikel, Powell, McClean; Brown, Vokes

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Ward; Justin, Morgan, Soyuncu, Thomas; Mendy, Praet, Choudhury; Under, Iheanacho, Perez

SM words green background

We say: Stoke City 0-2 Leicester City

Leicester are likely to heavily rotate their side for this third-round tie, but they boast a pretty strong squad these days and should be able to overcome whatever Stoke throw at them.

The last three meetings between the sides at the bet365 Stadium have all ended 2-2, though we are going with a routine away victory in this latest encounter.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data

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Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in October 2020
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