West Bromwich Albion welcome Stoke City to The Hawthorns on Sunday for their final match of the season knowing their Premier League future is all but assured after enduring a tense, late-season relegation battle.
The Baggies (7-15-15) are 17th in the table and three points above Norwich City, who occupy the final relegation berth, but Pepe Mel's side have a vastly superior goal differential. Even if Albion lose to Stoke, Norwich would need to beat top-four club Arsenal by a record margin on Sunday to overtake the Midlanders.
West Brom have suffered back-to-back away defeats since their 1-0 home win against West Ham United on Apr. 29, and those three points taken from the Hammers have proved to be absolutely crucial.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster admits the fight to retain their top-flight status was a strain and wants the Baggies to end the campaign on a high with a victory in front of their own fans.
"We have always been a comfortable mid-table team and it has been a bit of a worry," Foster told his club's official website. "I can understand the lads breathing a big sigh of relief really after we won against West Ham and results went our way, but it's really disappointing and we still want to beat Stoke now.
"It's been a thoroughly disappointing season from everybody really. I think we are quite fortunate and we've done well to escape relegation, so I think it's a point of licking our wounds and making sure we are in the Premier League next season. Then we need to regroup and start afresh in the summer for next season."
Stoke (12-11-14) are 10th in the table on 47 points and need only to avoid defeat on Sunday to round off their most successful Premier League season to date. The Potters have already equalled their highest points tally in the division and are on track for their first top-half finish in club history.
The Potters beat relegated Fulham 4-1 at home last weekend with Peter Odemwingie, Marko Arnautovic, Oussama Assaidi and Jon Walters all getting on the scoresheet.
Striker Odemwingie, who has been named in Nigeria's preliminary 30-man for this summer's World Cup in Brazil, will be returning to former club West Brom for the first time since his move to the Britannia Stadium in January.
"I am looking forward to returning, but my main aim will be to help Stoke City get the win," the 32-year-old told his club's official website. "We can get ninth position and that's what we will want to achieve. It's also our last game of the season, so we want to finish off in winning way for our supporters who will make the journey.
"I'm proud to be a part of what is potentially a record-breaking Stoke City side and as players, we want to beat as many records as possible. If I score on Sunday, of course I will celebrate, but I won't exaggerate because I still have a lot of respect for West Brom."
The Baggies will be without Billy Jones and Zoltan Gera (both hamstring), and Steven Reid (groin).
Ryan Shawcross returns to the Stoke squad after a one-match ban, while Assaidi is unlikely to play after aggravating a knee injury.
These sides played out a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium on Oct. 19 in this season's reverse fixture.
Stoke have won all four of their Premier League matches at The Hawthorns, outscoring West Brom 7-0 in those games.
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