Stoke match preview

Barclays Premier League
Stoke City v West Ham United
Britannia Stadium
Saturday 2 May
Referee: Peter Walton

• West Ham United travel to face Tony Pulis' Stoke City in the club's 18th away match of the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season on Saturday afternoon.

• Gianfranco Zola's side go into the match in eighth place in the Premier League table, two points behind seventh-placed Fulham with four matches remaining. The Cottagers make the short trip to Chelsea on Saturday. A seventh-place finish will be good enough to qualify for next season's inaugural UEFA Europa League.

• West Ham have won four (Fulham, Sunderland, Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic), drawn seven (Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa) and lost six (Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, Hull City, Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur) of their away matches this season.

• The Hammers go into Saturday's match having lost just two of their last eleven away matches in the Premier League. Since going down 2-0 at Manchester United on 29 October, West Ham have won at Sunderland, Portsmouth and Wigan, drawn at Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle, Arsenal, Blackburn and Aston Villa and only lost at Bolton and Tottenham.

• West Ham will hope to secure their fourth league double of the season, having already won home and away against Fulham, Sunderland and Wigan. The Hammers beat the Potters 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground on 28 December.

• Stoke go into Saturday's match eleventh in the table with 39 points from 34 matches.

• This is the 64th league meeting between the two sides. West Ham have won 25, Stoke have won 23 and there have been 15 draws.


• Saturday's referee is Peter Walton.

• Walton, 49, began his refereeing career in 1986, before being appointed to the Football League List as an assistant referee in 1993. He joined the Premier League List of assistant referees in 1994

• Walton was an assistant referee at the 1996 FA Cup final between Manchester United and Liverpool at Wembley. That same year, he also joined the FIFA list of assistant referees and ran the line during the Euro 96 group-stage fixture between Germany and Czech Republic at Old Trafford.

• Walton joined the Football League List of referees in 1998 and joined the Premier League Select List in 2003. That same year, he was the man in control of the LDV Vans Trophy final between Bristol City and Carlisle United at the Millennium Stadium.

• Walton's first Premier League fixture as a referee was Wolverhampton Wanderers' 4-3 win over Leicester City at Molineux on 25 October 2003.

• In January 2007, Walton travelled to Ecuador to help to run an Advanced Course for Referees' Instructors.

• Walton took charge of the 2008 FA Community Shield between Manchester United and Portsmouth at Wembley.

• Walton has taken charge of four West Ham matches this season - the 1-0 League Cup third-round defeat at Watford, the 2-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester United, the 0-0 Premier League draw at Liverpool and the 1-1 FA Cup fifth-round draw with Middlesbrough at the Boleyn Ground.

• Walton has taken charge of three of Stoke's Premier League fixtures this season, but this will be his first assignment at the Britannia Stadium. Walton was the referee for Stoke's 5-0 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford, their 3-0 loss at Blackburn Rovers and 2-1 reverse at Chelsea.

Last time out

Saturday 25 April 2009
Barclays Premier League
West Ham United 0-1 Chelsea
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Boa Morte (Savio 72), Noble, Dyer (Sears 61), Stanislas, Di Michele (Kovac 61), Tristan
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Spector, Payne
Booked: Stanislas

Saturday 25 April 2009
Barclays Premier League
Fulham 1-0 Stoke City
Stoke City: Sorensen, Kelly (Sonko 83), Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Pugh (Dickinson 87), Lawrence, Whelan, Delap, Etherington, Fuller, Cresswell (Camara 83)
Subs not used Simonsen, Olofinjana, Cort, Tonge
Booked: Lawrence, Shawcross

West Ham United

• West Ham go into Saturday's match eager to return to winning ways after their five-match Premier League unbeaten run was ended at Tottenham Hotspur, and followed by a draw at Aston Villa and loss to Chelsea.

• The Hammers have not lost on any of their last five visits to Stoke City. West Ham have won four and drawn one of those matches, a run that stretches back to a 4-2 First Division victory on 20 October 1984 - the pair's last meeting at Stoke in the top-flight. West Ham's last defeat at Stoke came on 1 October 1983, when the hosts won 3-1 at the Victoria Ground.

• West Ham's biggest away win at Stoke came during the 1957/58 Second Division title-winning season. A Vic Keeble brace and further strikes from Mike Grice and John Dick saw the Hammers secure a 4-1 victory at the Victoria Ground on 29 March 1958. West Ham's most emphatic top-flight victory at Stoke came on 20 October 1984, when Paul Allen, Paul Goddard, Tony Cottee and an own-goal from George Berry saw the Hammers triumph 4-2.

• West Ham have not lost a Premier League match by more than a single goal since going down 2-0 at home to Tottenham on Monday 8 December, a run of 17 games.

• The Hammers have been boosted this week by the news that manager Gianfranco Zola and first-team coach Steve Clarke have signed extended contracts with the club until 2013.

• Carlton Cole is West Ham's top scorer in the Premier League this season with nine goals. He has eleven in all competitions. However, Cole is ruled out of Saturday's game because he is not yet match fit after recovering from a groin injury.

• Goalkeeper Robert Green is the only West Ham player to have played every minute of the club's 34 Premier League matches so far this season. Matthew Upson has started 33 games.

• Cole has been sent-off twice, more than any other West Ham player, while Noble has been shown the yellow card on eight occasions.

• Cole has unleashed more shots in total (74), on target (45) and off target (29) than any other West Ham player this season. Cole also has more assists (five) than any of his team-mates, and been caught offside (28) and committed the most fouls (62).

• Mark Noble has unleashed more crosses (31) than any other West Ham player.

• Upson has made more defensive clearances (56) and blocks (30) than any of his team-mates.

• Valon Behrami has won more free-kicks (70) than any other West Ham player this term.

Stoke City

• Stoke City have won nine and lost just three of the 17 home matches they have played in the Premier League this season, earning 32 of their 39 total points. Stoke have won 82 per cent of their points from home fixtures, the highest percentage in the Premier League. Manchester City have taken 75 per cent (33 from 44) and Fulham 70 per cent (33 from 47) of their points from home fixtures.

• Stoke are unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium this year. The Potters were last beaten on their own ground by Manchester United on Boxing Day. Since then, Stoke have won four and drawn three of their home Premier League fixtures, conceding just three goals.

• Stoke's biggest-ever home league victory over West Ham came in the shape of a 5-2 First Division victory at the Victoria Ground on 6 November 1982. Hammers' boss John Lyall received his manager of the month award before the game. The defeat was West Ham's heaviest defeat since losing 6-0 to Sunderland in 1967. Stoke scored through Sammy McIlroy (two), Brendan O'Callaghan, Peter Hampton and Mickey Thomas. West Ham's goals came through a Ray Stewart penalty and Geoff Pike's late consolation.

• Stoke have not beaten West Ham at home since 1 October 1983. That day, the Potters secured a 3-1 First Division victory at the Victoria Ground. Stoke's goals came from Mark Chamberlain, Dave McAughtrie and Mickey Thomas. The Hammers' goal came through a Ray Stewart penalty.

• Stoke's top-scorer in the Premier League is Ricardo Fuller. The Jamaican international has scored eight goals, while January transfer window arrival from Sheffield United, James Beattie, has six.

• Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and Senegal defender Abdoulaye Faye have both started 32 of Stoke's 34 Premier League matches this season. Irish midfielder Rory Delap has made 30 starts.

• Stoke's players have received 70 yellow cards this season, tied with Blackburn for the highest number in the Premier League. The Potters have also had five players sent-off, the joint highest number in the Premier League alongside Tottenham, Newcastle and Manchester United.

• Ricardo Fuller has had more shots in total (44), on target (19) and off target (25) than any other Stoke player. Fuller has also been caught offside (16), won more free-kicks (38) and committed more fouls (56) than any other Stoke player this season.

• Rory Delap has created more goals (five) for his team-mates than any other Stoke player.

• Liam Lawrence has unleashed more crosses (46) than any other Stoke player this term.

• Abdoulaye Faye has made more defensive clearances (41) than any of his team-mates, while Ryan Shawcross has made more defensive blocks (30) than any other Stoke player this season.

• Stoke have conceded 13 goals in the final ten minutes of Premier League matches this season - the joint highest number in the top-flight alongside Aston Villa, Blackburn and Middlesbrough. West Ham have conceded eight during the same period of their own fixtures.

Team news

• West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola will pick from the same squad that he had available for last Saturday's narrow 1-0 Premier League loss to Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground.

• Wales midfielder Jack Collison returned to full training this week after recovering from the dislocated kneecap he suffered at Wigan Athletic on 4 March. However, Saturday's game will come too soon for the 20-year-old, who is optimistic of making a return to first-team action before the end of the season.

• Carlton Cole is undergoing his own specialised personal training programme as he continues his recovery from the groin injury he aggravated during England's 4-0 friendly win over Slovakia at Wembley last month. He is set to join full training next week.

• England midfielder Scott Parker is working hard to recover from a groin injury but will not be available this weekend, while Wales defender James Collins is continuing his recovery from the calf injury he suffered at Aston Villa on 18 April.

• England forward Kieron Dyer made his first start since August 2007 in last weekend's 1-0 home defeat by Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground. The 30-year-old will be eager to be in Zola's starting eleven again at the Britannia Stadium.

• United States defender Jonathan Spector will be hoping to be included in Zola's matchday 18 again after returning to the substitutes' bench against Chelsea last Saturday. Spector had previously been ruled out with a concussion after being hurt in the 2-0 home victory over Sunderland on 4 April.

• Zola will be without midfielder Valon Behrami. Switzerland international Behrami will be out of action for around six months after suffering a anterior cruciate ligament injury in his knee.

• Reserve team defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson is pushing hard for a place in the matchday 18 after travelling with the first-team squad to the recent fixtures against Aston Villa and Chelsea.

• Wales defender Danny Gabbidon is continuing his recovery from back and stomach injuries by working with the club's medical staff at Chadwell Heath. He is now running.

• Kyel Reid and Jordan Spence, who have excelled in loan spells with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leyton Orient respectively, are due back at the club next week and could be in contention for the final three fixtures of the season.

• For Stoke, striker James Beattie is facing a race against time to be fit in time for Saturday's match. The forward, who has scored six goals in 12 games since joining the club in January, has a thigh strain.

• Defender Andy Wilkinson (back) is rated as doubtful for this weekend's fixture.

• Defender Danny Higginbotham (back), midfielder Salif Diao (groin) and striker Mamady Sidibe (knee) are all definitely out of Saturday's fixture with long-term injuries.

• Midfielder Amdy Faye (back) has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Last meeting

• The teams met at the Boleyn Ground on Sunday 28 December. Stoke took the lead through Abdoulaye Faye after just four minutes. Carlton Cole equalised six minutes after half-time before Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller was sent-off. Diego Tristan scored his first goal for the club with two minutes of the 90 remaining.

• The lineups were:

West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker (Mullins 77), Collison (Tristan 77), Boa Morte, Di Michele (Spector 89), Cole
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Bowyer, Sears, 'Gala
Booked: Boa Morte, Cole, Di Michele

Stoke City: Sorensen, Griffin (Davies 58), Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Delap, Olofinjana, Whelan, Pugh (Pericard 53), Cresswell, Fuller
Subs not used: Simonsen, Lawrence, Soares, Tonge, Sonko
Booked: Abdoulaye Faye, Higginbotham, Olofinjana
Sent-off: Fuller

Attendance: 34,477

Old boys

• West Ham first-team coach Kevin Keen made 201 league and cup appearances for Stoke between October 1994 and September 2000, scoring 12 goals. Keen, a former West Ham apprentice, made 279 league and cup appearances for the Hammers between March 1984 and July 1993, scoring 30 goals.

• Stoke winger Matthew Etherington made 195 appearances for West Ham between August 2003 and January 2009, scoring 18 goals. The 27-year-old joined the Potters on 8 January, having moved to the Boleyn Ground from Tottenham Hotspur five-and-a-half years previously.

• Stoke striker Henri Camara, who is on loan at the Britannia Stadium from Wigan, has made two substitute appearances for the Potters, including one at the Boleyn Ground on 28 December. Camara spent the 2007/08 season on loan at West Ham, making ten league appearances.

• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Clive Clarke, Bob Dixon, Sir Geoff Hurst, Lawrie Leslie, Nicky Morgan and Frank Richardson.

Head to head

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)

28 December 2008 - West Ham United 2-1 Stoke City
Championship, 19 April 2005 - Stoke City 0-1 West Ham United
Championship, 19 October 2004 - West Ham United 2-0 Stoke City
Championship, 24 April 2004 - Stoke City 0-2 West Ham United
Championship, 9 December 2003 - West Ham United 0-1 Stoke City
League Cup, 10 October 1990 - Stoke City 1-2 West Ham United

Overall record v Stoke City (all competitions) W 30 D 18 L 27

Next up

• West Ham will play host to Liverpool on Saturday 9 May, with kick-off at 5.30pm. The match will be screened live by Setanta Sports.

• Stoke will travel to Hull City on Saturday 9 May, with kick-off at 3pm

General information

• Standard tickets for this fixture are on general sale, priced at £30 adults, £21 seniors, £17 under-17s and £11 under-11s. Two wheelchair tickets are still available, priced at £21 adults/seniors, £17 under-17s and £11 under-11s, including carer.

• The weather forecast for Stoke this Saturday is for sunny intervals with a maximum daytime temperature of 14C.