Date: 2nd March 2016 at 12:27pm
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Stoke’s 2-1 win against Aston Villa at the Britannia on Saturday kept them in the hunt for European football, and they play their second home match in five days against Newcastle on Wednesday.

Mark Hughes’ men remain five points off fifth-placed Manchester United, although their goal difference of minus four could hinder their chances of Europa League qualification.

The Potters have recovered well from three defeats in four games to win their last two – beating struggling Bournemouth a fortnight before condemning Villa to another loss.

Forward Marko Arnautovic has been one of his side’s key players this term, and he scored both of the goals in win against the Remi Garde’s rock-bottom Villans.

Meanwhile, the Magpies have not played a league game since their 5-1 loss at Chelsea in mid-February, due to their scheduled weekend opponents Manchester City taking part in the League Cup final.

The team were taken away for a break in Spain during their extended break and will have certainly used it to analyse that heavy defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Steve McClaren’s men benefitted from the two sides directly above them, Norwich and Swansea both losing, keeping them in touching distance with safety. The former also lost to Chelsea on Tuesday, while arch-rivals Sunderland were held by Crystal Palace.

The Toon remain in the bottom three by the virtue of goal difference, with a slightly worse goal difference (-22) than the 17th-placed Mackems, who have -19, but they do have two games in-hand on the Black Cats.

Team News:

Geoff Cameron faces a late fitness test due to an ankle injury, as does Phil Bardsley, but Glenn Whelan could feature despite suffering a broken nose while Marc Muniesa could return to the starting line-up.

However, Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson, Charlie Adam and Marc Wilson will all be absent.

Aleksandr Mitrovic should be able to take part having recovered from a medial knee ligament problem, while Siem de Jong is also nearing full fitness after an eye injury.

Paul Dummett, Vurnon Anita and Papiss Cisse could also make the journey to the Potteries, but Fabricio Coloccini will be unavailable because of a calf injury.

League Positions: Stoke – 9th (39 pts); Newcastle – 19th (24 pts)
Previous Meeting: Newcastle 0-0 Stoke (October 31, 2015)
Form: Stoke – DLLLWW; Newcastle – DWLLWL
Key Men: Stoke – Bojan; Newcastle – Gigi Wijnaldum
Shoot Says: Stoke 2-1 Newcastle

 
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