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Stoke Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 06/02/2003

TOWN enter perhaps the biggest game of their season on Saturday against fellow strugglers Stoke, in pretty awful form. Injuries have crippled the Mariners squad but if relegation is to be avoided, Town must surely pick up at least a point in this all-important home game.

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

The Bottom Line

Town simply can’t afford to loose. It is looking pretty grim at the bottom of the table now and it looks like Town, Stoke, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton are going to be left stranded at the foot of the table unless one of them puts a decent run of form together. Stoke are in good form compared to the Mariners, who have not won since Boxing Day, but Town have to forget all that if they are to stand any chance on Saturday.

The Opposition - Any Good?

Despite Stoke’s precarious position they have one or two handy players. One all too familiar to Town fans is Peter Handyside (left) who left the club two seasons ago after making 190 appearances for us between 1992 and 2001. They also have ex-Coventry full back Marcus Hall in their defence while experienced keeper’ Steve Banks is between the sticks. Up front they have striker Chris Iwelumo firing on all cylinders, while summer signing Chris Greenacre, signed by ex boss Steve Cotterill, has proved a useful acquisition and his partnership with Iwelumo is likely to provide a stern test for the Town backline.

Recent Form


LBurnley (Cup)(a)0-4
WBournemouth (Cup)(h)3-0
WWigan (Cup)(h)3-0

Players To Watch



Michael Boulding

Chris Iwelumo

If, as expected, "Quick Mick" is passed fit for Saturday’s game, then Boulding will be vitally important for the Mariners. The pacy striker made a return to Blundell Park about four weeks ago, and although is not fully fit, has managed to score two goals so far. With the right service, Boulding could make the vital difference for Town.

The strong striker, like Boulding is also expected to be fit on Saturday after carrying an injury all week. Iwelumo has been a sensation for the Potters this season, banging in seven goals, making him the club’s top scorer. His blossoming partnership with fellow striker partner Chris Greenacre has been instrumental in Stoke’s resurgance in form. Town fans will hope that he and Greenacre will both have an off day on Saturday!

Top Scorers



Kabba 6
Campbell 5
Oster 5
Pouton 4

Iwelumo 7
Cooke 6
Greenacre 4
Gunnarsson 4

Team News



  • Striker Michael Boulding should be passed fit to play, having missed out on last week’s 3-0 loss at Portsmouth through an ankle injury, A scan has given him the all clear to play.

  • However, Steve Livingstone is suspended for three games after his sending off at home to Bradford a few weeks ago. Darren Mansaram will replace him.

  • The good news is that Town could welcome back Alan Pouton, Stacy Coldicott and Darren Barnard. Pouton has been out since before Christmas and any return would be a major boost in a midfield where his presence has been sorely missed. However, he may have to settle for a place on the bench as might Barnard, who turned his ankle in training on Thursday.

  • Stacy Coldicott meanwhile, may not be risked with more fit midfielders in front of him. Any injury to Barnard though, could mean a recall for the unfortunate Terry Cooke who was dropped from the side last week.
  • Stoke will give a late test to forward Chris Iwelumo who came off injured in last week’s 2-2 draw with Norwich City, he is, however expected to play. If he does fail to make it though, then loan forward Lee Mills will take his place.

  • The Brittannia Stadium Club have extended the loan of Leeds United defender Fraser Richardson, meaning he will continue in defence.

  • Full back Wayne Thomas has also been struggling with a thigh injury but it almost certain to make the squad.
  • Probable Starting XI's


    Danny Coyne
    John McDermott
    Simon Ford
    Steve Chettle
    Tony Gallimore
    Stuart Campbell
    Terry Cooke
    Paul Groves
    George Santos
    Michael Boulding
    Darren Mansaram
    Steve Banks
    Wayne Thomas
    Peter Handyside
    Siarhei Shtaniuk
    Marcus Hall
    Fraser Richardson
    James O’Connor
    Brynjar Gunnarsson
    Peter Hoekstra
    Chris Iwelumo
    Chris Greenacre



    David Soames
    Darren Barnard
    Iain Ward
    Alan Pouton
    Sean Allaway (GK)
    Neil Cutler (GK)
    Bjarni Gudjonsson
    Lewis Neal
    Petur Marteinsson
    Lee Mills

    Last Time Out

    Town are aiming to do the double over Stoke after beating the Potters in their own back yard back in November. The Mariners won by two goals to one thanks to goals from a Steve Livingstone chip and a wonderful Stuart Campbell free-kick. Stoke made a reply through a penalty when Jason Gavin handled a cross, but Town held on for three precious points.

    Town Team: Coyne, McDermott, Gallimore, Groves, Chettle, Coldicott, Barnard (Robinson), Campbell, Cooke, Taylor (Rowan), Kabba.
    Subs (not used): Rowan, Soames, Parker, Allaway .

    Attendance: 11,488    Report

    Stoke Head-to-Head (81st on The Opposition Ladder).


    Fishy prediction: 3-2 to Town. Reader's POMs


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