FOOTBALL NEWS

19/10/2012 10:30, Report by Mark Froggatt
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Preview: United v Stoke

2008 promotion from the Championship. A tough, straightforward Welshman with a no-nonsense attitude, it’s easy to see where the Potters draw their character and personality from.

Star man: Peter Crouch has plied his trade for several top-flight clubs over the years, though the towering striker finally looks at home in Staffordshire at the Britannia Stadium. The 31-year-old England international is on fire this term, bagging five goals for the Potters thus far, including three, quite predictably for a man who stands at just over two-metres tall, with his head. United’s injury-hit back-four will need to be on top form come Saturday afternoon.

Quote/unquote: “It's always hard to play Stoke because they play a different kind of football to most teams in the Premier League. They are very physical and have very strong players. It's also difficult because most of the game is in the air. We need to be strong and play our game.” – Nani

Sub-plots: Former United striker Michael Owen hopes to face his former club for the first time since swapping Old Trafford for the Britannia Stadium in the summer. While he only spent three seasons in M16, the poacher remains a favourite with many Reds thanks to his Manchester derby winner in 2009. Fellow United old-boy Ryan Shawcross should also feature.

Whistle blower: Anthony Taylor will take charge of this fixture. The Manchester-based official has not been involved in any Stoke games this season, but did referee the Reds’ recent Capital One Cup win over Newcastle. Taylor has distributed 12 yellow cards and one red this campaign.

Betting: History suggests United should have little trouble seeing off Stoke City. The Reds have won their last nine

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