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Preview: Stoke City vs. Everton

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between Stoke and Everton as the Potters go in search of three straight wins for the first time this season.

Stoke City will go in search of a third consecutive Premier League victory when they host Everton on Wednesday evening.

The Potters followed up their away win at Aston Villa with success at home to Hull City over the weekend as they continue to march on under Mark Hughes.

They are yet to string together three wins on the bounce this season, but three points against Everton could see them climb as high as eighth in the table, with West Ham United and Swansea City directly above them away at some of London's finest.

Peter Crouch came off the bench to score the winner against the Tigers and equal Alan Shearer's record of headed goals in the Premier League.

The 42-times capped England international is now only five short of a century of Premier League goals, and has scored 46 of them with his head.

Not many pre-season predictions would have had the Toffees trailing Stoke by 11 points as the season approaches its final stages, but the visitors are 14th in the table and only six points clear of the relegation zone.

Manager Roberto Martinez may have been hoping that their run to the last 16 of the Europa League would inspire an improvement in league form, but Everton again fell flat as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.

Great Goodison Park hope Ross Barkley, who has only scored one top-flight goal this season, again disappointed, but could be reverted back to his favoured central position for the trip to the Britannia Stadium.

One of Muhamed Besic, Gareth Barry or James McCarthy will probably drop out to make way for a more attacking player, with Steven Naismith and Aaron Lennon pushing for starts in one of the slots behind Romelu Lukaku.

England left-back Leighton Baines is unlikely to recover from the thigh strain which forced him to sit out at the Emirates Stadium, and so youngster Luke Garbutt should deputise again as Bryan Oviedo also nurses an injury.

Aiden McGeady, Christian Atsu and Steven Pienaar are also fitness doubts for the visitors, but Stoke have their fair share of absentees as Ryan Shawcross, Marc Muniesa, Peter Odemwingie and Bojan remain in the treatment room.

Stephen Ireland joined them on the sidelines this week, but Hughes may be relieved that the creative midfielder is only expected to miss three weeks following a 'career-ending' tackle from Hull's Maynor Figueroa.

In what will likely be Stoke's only change, Ireland should be replaced by Crouch, promoted to the starting lineup to lead the home side's attack, with Jonathan Walters moving out to the wing.

A first-half Bojan penalty settled December's reverse fixture between these sides on Merseyside.


Form in Premier League: WWDLWW
Form in all competitions: WDLLWW

Possible starting lineup: Begovic; Bardsley, Wollscheid, Wilson, Pieters; N'Zonzi, Sidwell; Moses, Diouf, Walters; Crouch


Form in Premier League: DWDLDL
Form in all competitions: DLWDWL

Possible starting lineup: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Garbutt; McCarthy, Barry; Mirallas, Barkley, Naismith; Lukaku

Sports Mole says: 1-0


Who will win Wednesday's Premier League clash between Stoke and Everton at the Britannia?

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Tottenham Hotspur interim manager Tim Sherwood acknowledges his sides fans following the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on May 11, 2014
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