Stoke City-Crystal Palace Preview

RYAN WILLOX (STATS Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Stoke City will set out on Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace looking to cure their Premier League travel sickness.

The Potters have the worst away record in the division, taking just five points from their 10 road matches.

Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen believes it can be a culture shock for the players when they leave their partisan home surroundings.

"I think sometimes you can take the atmosphere and the buzz of playing at the Britannia Stadium for granted, but believe me it doesn't half help the lads out on the pitch to have all of the supporters behind them," Bowen told the official Stoke website."It's a mental thing more than anything, because the players are good enough to go anywhere in the Premier League and win the game.

"We just need to get them in the frame of mind where they go into away matches expecting to get results, because if we can get them to believe that more regularly we will win a lot more games."

Stoke (5-7-9) lost 5-3 to Liverpool last time out but were spurred on to make a fight of it by the raucous home crowd after conceding two poor early goals.

Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis will face his former side Stoke for the first time since taking charge at Selhurst Park in November.

Palace (5-2-14) slipped down to the bottom of the table after a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, but Pulis believes other results actually worked to their advantage.

"We've gone bottom because Sunderland and West Ham have won but other results have given the table had a concertina effect, moving everyone closer when you look at it now," Pulis told the official Crystal Palace club website. "When I came to the football club if you said this would be the situation with 17 games to go I would have taken it. It gives us a great chance and a great opportunity. It gives us as good a chance as everyone else."

The Potters moved in the transfer market this week. Steven Ireland's loan deal from Aston Villa was made permanent, while John Guidetti arrived on loan from Manchester City.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes made it clear he is not finished strengthening the Potters' squad during the January transfer window.

"There is still a good amount of time left this month and we will all be looking to try and get a few more in," he told the official club website. "They have to be the right deals for the club though - that is the important thing."

Oussama Assaidi returns to the Stoke squad after being ineligible for last weekend's match under the terms of his loan agreement with parent club Liverpool. However, the Potters will be without Asmir Begovic, Robert Huth, Matthew Etherington and Andy Wilkinson.

Palace are missing Glenn Murray and Jack Hunt, while Jerome Thomas and Paddy McCarthy have returned to training but may not be ready in time for Stoke.

Stoke came from behind to beat Palace 2-1 at the Britannia earlier this season. Marouane Chamakh gave the Eagles the lead before second-half goals from Charlie Adam and Ryan Shawcross secured three points for the Potters.

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