Stoke City match preview

Barclays Premier League
West Ham United v Stoke City

Sunday 28 December
Referee: Michael Jones
WHUTV - Full audio commentary


* West Ham United welcome Stoke City on Sunday afternoon with the potential to move back into the top half of the Barclays Premier League table and boosted by a thrilling 4-1 win away at Portsmouth on Friday. That success made it five away games unbeaten.

* The highest 13th-placed West Ham United can realistically climb with victory is tenth. Success for Stoke could elevate them from 19th position to 12th.

* The last time the clubs met in the top flight of English football was 14 May 1985 when the Hammers were 5-1 winners at the Boleyn Ground.

* There have been seven other encounters since that top-flight showdown, with West Ham United having fond memories of the last meetings between the clubs in the 2004/05 Championship season. The Hammers earned a 1-0 success at Stoke in April 2005, having triumphed 2-0 at home on 19 October 2004, en route to promotion via the play-offs.

* Gianfranco Zola said: "[Over Christmas] you can pick up so many points and you can change your season. Hopefully it is going to be like that for us. We can take off and play a very good season. Fair to the players, they have been training so well and that makes me very positive against Stoke."

* Tony Pulis said: "The lads have been absolutely brilliant this season, and I don't want to talk about anything other than the work they put in. We deserved something [in the defeat against Manchester United]. But we will keep our heads up and move on to the West Ham game."

* West Ham United have lost five and drawn one of their last six home games, dating back to the 3-1 win against Newcastle United on Saturday 20 September - Gianfranco Zola's first game in charge of the club.

* The win at Portsmouth was the first success in eight attempts against the south-coast club, dating back to 1993.

* West Ham United are next in league action on 10 January when they go to Newcastle bidding for a sixth away game unbeaten.

* The Hammers have conceded just three goals in their last five games away from the Boleyn Ground, a fact made all more impressive as two of those fixtures were at Anfield and Stamford Bridge.

* West Ham United are next in action on Saturday 3 January when Barnsley visit in the FA Cup third round. Stoke City are away to Hartlepool United on the same day.

Team news

* Because of the short turnaround in games, Lucas Neill may miss out on Sunday with the twisted ankle suffered in the first half at Portsmouth. Matthew Upson would wear the captain's armband in his absence and Julien Faubert, an impressive substitute at Fratton Park, could be recalled to the starting lineup.

* Gianfranco Zola also has Jonathan Spector in contention for the first time this season and he could provide another option at full-back.

* Craig Bellamy is suspended for the match after picking up his fifth caution of the season against Aston Villa on 20 December.

* Scott Parker can play against Stoke after his fifth caution of the season against Portsmouth but will be suspended when Barnsley visit in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

* It is thought the match will be too soon for Kieron Dyer, with the attack-minded midfielder in with a chance of facing Barnsley.

* As well as those involved against Portsmouth, Walter Lopez, Lee Bowyer, Matthew Etherington and Freddie Sears have all been pushing hard for inclusion in Zola's matchday plans. There are also the likes of Marek Stech, Joe Widdowson, Bondz 'Gala, Josh Payne and Tom Harvey doing well with Alex Dyer's reserves.

* Six players are out on loan - Jimmy Walker (Colchester United), Jordan Spence (Leyton Orient), James Tomkins (Derby County), Nigel Quashie (Birmingham City), Kyel Reid (Blackpool) and Junior Stanislas (Southend United).

* Stoke are without the suspended Andy Wilkinson, shown a straight red against Manchester United, but hope to have Liam Lawrence (ankle) back. There are also doubts for Tony Pulish over Andy Griffin (knee), Salif Diao (calf), Leon Cort (groin) and Dave Kitson (knee).

Last time out

Friday 26 December 2008
Portsmouth 1-4 West Ham United
West Ham United: Green, Neill (Faubert 46), Davenport, Upson, Ilunga, Collison, Noble (Boa Morte 73), Parker, Behrami, Cole (Tristan 87), Bellamy
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Mullins, Collins, Di Michele
Booked: Noble, Behrami, Parker
Goals: Collison 20, Cole 67, Bellamy 70, 83

Friday 26 December 2008
Stoke City 0-1 Manchester United
Stoke City: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Delap (Davies 74), Whelan, Amdy Faye (Olofinjana 89), Pugh, Cresswell (Pericard 90), Fuller
Subs not used: Simonsen, Lawrence, Tonge, Sonko
Sent off: Wilkinson
Booked: Cresswell, Wilkinson, Fuller, Whelan


* The teams last met on 19 May 2005, towards the end of the club's last campaign outside the top flight. Bobby Zamora scored the only goal in front of 14,534 fans in the 78th minute.

* The lineups were:

Stoke City: Simonsen, Buxton (Henry 74), Duberry, Hill, Taggart, Brammer, Clarke, Russell, Greenacre (Neal 83), Jones (Ricketts 83), Noel-Williams
Subs not used: De Goey, Clark

West Ham United: Walker, Ferdinand, Repka (Zamora 76), Ward, Powell, Etherington, Newton, Reo-Coker, Mullins (Fletcher 76), Sheringham, Harewood (Chadwick 89)
Subs not used: Bywater, Brevett

Head to head (last six meetings, league unless stated)

19 April 2005 - Stoke City 0-1 West Ham United
19 October 2004 - West Ham United 2-0 Stoke City
24 April 2004 - Stoke City 0-2 West Ham United
9 December 2003 - West Ham United 0-1 Stoke City
10 October 1990 - Stoke City 1-2 West Ham United (League Cup)
26 September 1990 - West Ham United 3-0 Stoke City

Overall record v Stoke City (all competitions): W 29, D 18, L 27

General information

For ticket information, click here . For details on getting to the Boleyn Ground, click here.

Weather: The forecast is for a bright, chilly day with temperatures not expected to get above 3C.

Travel news: The Jubilee line will be completely closed while the Metropolitan line will not be running between Aldgate and Harrow-on-the-hill
For more information please go to the TFL website.