Premier League preview: Stoke v Newcastle

Newcastle United are on the road to Stoke City in a clash between two teams almost guaranteed to avoid the drop from the Premier League.

Neither is mathematically safe but Newcastle, sitting in 10th and five points clear, and Stoke, currently 12th and three points away, will not be feeling too uncomfortable.

Stoke are on a high after their FA Cup quarter-final win over West Ham United and with Bolton awaiting in the semi-final.

But aside from their glorious cup run, Tony Pulis’ side have struggled in recent league outings and slumped to a 3-0 loss at West Ham before their FA Cup meeting.

They have lost 11 of their 15 games on the road and are without striker Mamady Sidibe for the rest of the season after he ruptured his Achilles tendon.

Stoke’s struggles for goals are underlined by defender Robert Huth topping their scoring charts with six, although striker Kenwyne Jones has found the net on five occasions.

Newcastle have not had such difficulty finding the net, but the issue for manager Alan Pardew has been down the other end, with Newcastle having kept just eight clean sheets in all competitions.

On-loan midfielder Stephen Ireland is a chance to make his debut for the club while Joey Barton is also in line for a return from injury.

Left-back Jose Enrique is in doubt after coming off with a hamstring injury during the loss at Everton.

Although relatively safe, the Potters need to capitalise on the confidence of their Cup run by gathering some points on the league table.

Newcastle will have similar confidence of gaining a result out of this match, particularly if Barton and Ireland are fit and in the team at Britannia Stadium.

A win for either side would boost their chances of finishing in the top half but a poor result should not have great implications for either team given their current positions.