Preview: Stoke City vs. Hull City

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between Stoke and Hull at the Britannia Stadium as the two teams look for the final points which will secure their safety.

Stoke City welcome Hull City to the Britannia Stadium this Saturday having all but secured their Premier League status for next season with victory last weekend.

The Potters overcame an early deficit at Aston Villa to win 4-1, with Peter Odemwingie, Peter Crouch, Steven N'Zonzi and Geoff Cameron all on the scoresheet.

The result took them into the top half of the table and sent them 12 points clear of the drop zone.

A run of just one defeat in eight games has propelled Mark Hughes's side clear of relegation trouble, but their next opponents, Hull, probably feel that they need a couple more wins to feel completely safe.

A goal from Shane Long against his former club West Bromwich Albion helped the Tigers to a 2-0 win at the KC Stadium last week, which lifted them eight points clear of the bottom three.

While that is a healthy margin, Steve Bruce will be keen to guarantee survival as soon as possible so that his team can focus on their FA Cup semi-final with Sheffield United on April 13.

Hull are awaiting news on Allan McGregor, who spent the night in hospital after suffering kidney damage in the collision with Mohamed Diame, which saw him sent off in the 2-1 defeat to West Ham United.

Steve Harper will deputise in goal in what could be an otherwise unchanged side from the one that battled valiantly with 10 men at the Boleyn Ground, although Sone Aluko is in contention for a start.

Hughes could also stick with the majority of the XI that performed so well at Villa Park, as the Potters attempt to finish the highest of the Midlands clubs for the first time in the Premier League era.

The one change the Welshman could be forced into making would be at left-back, where Erik Pieters is nursing a knock and is a doubt, meaning that Marc Muniesa or Andy Wilkinson may be recalled.

Charlie Adam and Stephen Ireland are both available after being suspended and ineligible respectively for the win last Saturday, but Jonathan Walters serves the last of a three-game suspension.

Recent form

Stoke: WWDWLW

Hull: LWLWLW

Possible starting lineups

Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Muniesa; N'Zonzi, Whelan, Adam, Arnautovic, Odemwingie; Crouch

Hull: Harper; Rosenior, Chester, Davies, Figueroa, Elmohamady; Huddlestone, Livermore, Meyler; Jelavic, Long

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City beats Kevin Nolan, James Tomkins and Guy Demel of West Ham United to score their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United at Britannia Stadium on March 15, 2014
Read Next:
Match Analysis: Stoke City 3-1 West Ham
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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