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Stoke Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 07/11/2002

ALL fans will feel deflated at the loss of Steve Kabba back to Crystal Palace, but there is still an important bottom of the table clash going on at the Brittania Stadium on Saturday against Stoke.

Home > 2002-2003 Season > Previews > Stoke (h)

The Bottom Line

Town really need to avoid defeat on Saturday. If Stoke win they will be four points above us and leave a bigger gap between ourselves and the safety line. If Town win, they will be two points better off than the Potteries.

The Opposition - Any Good?

Stoke have had a rocky last five or six games; mainly since the departure of now Sunderland assistant, Steve Cotterill. Caretaker boss Dave Kevan failed to lead his side to victory, losing five in a row and the Potters now find themselves just outside the bottom three on 14 points. However, they do have quality in their side, most notably Tommy Mooney who is on a three month loan from Birmingham, ex-Mariner Peter Handyside (left) who is a rock in the Stoke defence and attacking midfielder James O’Connor who has caught the eye with some fine performances

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LSheff Utd(a)1-2

Players To Watch



John Oster

Tommy Mooney

The former Everton winger returned to Blundell Park, where he started his career, last week on a month’s loan. Oster showed his quality last week with a great game on the wing and of course scoring the goal that looked like it would earn three points until Gillingham’s late goal. Will be on the wing or in a more advanced role up front.

The former Villa, Scarbrough, Southend and Watford striker is at Stoke on a three month loan from Birmingham. The talented forward has struggled to settle in at St Andrews after a fantastic 2000/01 season with Watford, in which he scored over 20 goals and so was brought in by ex manager Steve Cotterill to fill in for the now fit Chris Greenacre. Always a threat, especially from the air.

Top Scorers



Kabba 6
Pouton 4
Barnard 2

Cooke 6
Clarke 2
Mooney 2

Team News



  • Town will be forced to make at least two changes with Steve Kabba back at Crystal Palace and Alan Pouton serving a one match ban for five yellow cards.

  • This means that Stuart Campbell will more than likely play in the centre of midfield, with Darren Barnard out on the left and John Oster on the right.

  • As a replacement for Kabba, there are two main contendors:-   

  • Darren Mansaram to play with Steve Livingstone as an out and out forward or   

  • John Oster who has played in "the hole" off a big forward before in his time with the Mariners. This would mean that Terry Cooke will be recalled to the side if Grovesy decides to do this.

  • Elsewhere, the defensive partnership of Jason Gavin and Simon Ford will stay the same. Paul Groves could make the bench after coming through a reserve game.
  • Strikers Chris Greenacre and Peter Hoekstra are both in strong contention for a starting place after playing 45 minutes in the reserves against Macclefield this week.

  • Greenace could replace Chris Iwelomu whilst Peter Hoekstra will have to settle for a place on the bench.

  • Elsewhere, Stoke have no other injury problems.
  • Probable Starting XI's


    Danny Coyne
    John McDermott
    Simon Ford
    Jason Gavin
    Tony Gallimore
    John Oster
    Stuart Campbell
    Stacy Coldicott
    Darren Barnard
    Steve Livingstone
    Darren Mansaram
    Neil Cutler
    Wayne Thomas
    Siarehi Shtaniuk
    Peter Handyside
    Clive Clarke
    Bjarni Gudjonsson
    James O’Connor
    Brynjar Gunnarson
    Lewis Neal
    Chris Greenace
    Tommy Mooney



    Paul Groves
    Chris Bolder
    Terry Cooke
    Jonathan Rowan
    Sean Allaway (GK)
    Chris Iwelumo
    Peter Hoekstra
    Andy Cooke
    Karl Henry (GK)
    Jani Viander

    Last Time Out

    The last time the two sides met was way back in the 1997 relegation season when the Mariners fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Victoria Ground. Steve Livingstone was the Mariners scorer that day, whilst the Stoke goals came from a Southall own goal, Kavanagh and Griffin. Stoke finished 12th that season, the Mariners 22nd. The only two Town players who played that game and will play on Saturday are Steve Livingstone and John Oster.

    Town Team: Love, Fickling, Shakespeare, Rodger, Southall, Widdrington, Appleton, Livingstone, Woods, Mendonca, Oster.
    Subs: Childs, Lester and Pearcey. Attendance: 8,621

    Stoke Head-to-Head (86th on The Opposition Ladder).


    Fishy prediction: 1-1 draw Reader's POMs


    Click on the link for directions to The Britannia Stadium (left).

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