Mark Hughes has warned Stoke City to be on their guard against a Newcastle United side smarting from their Wear-Tyne derby defeat to Sunderland last weekend.
Newcastle’s miserable Premier League campaign continued at the Stadium of Light as a 3-0 defeat to their fierce rivals left them 19th with just six points from 10 matches.
However, that game swung on a controversial decision to send off Fabricio Coloccini on the stroke of half time for a foul on Steven Fletcher inside the penalty area.
Adam Johnson dispatched the subsequent spot-kick and further goals from Billy Jones and Fletcher handed ex-Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce his first win as Sunderland manager.
Newcastle may be out of sorts, but Stoke manager Hughes is expecting a strong response from Steve McClaren’s side.
“I thought they were the better team at Sunderland before the sending off. They will think they were hard done by and will want to put that right,” he said ahead of Saturday’s visit to St James’ Park.
“Prior to that game, their last one at St James’ Park, they had a big win [6-2 over Norwich City] and they will still be buoyed by that victory.
“Steve is very experienced and has been through times like this before. It is a big opportunity for him at a big club and he will be confident of turning things around soon.”
Stoke saw a four-match unbeaten league run come to a disappointing end in a 2-0 defeat at home to Watford last weekend.
However, Hughes’ side rebounded brilliantly to knock defending champions Chelsea out of the League Cup in a penalty shootout on Tuesday with goalkeeper Jack Butland earning plaudits for a tremendous display.
Another plus for Hughes was the return of captain Ryan Shawcross, who managed 120 minutes after making his return from a five-month injury lay-off with a back problem.
Shawcross is hoping to be fit again this weekend and his return – coupled with that of Erik Pieters from suspension – will help offset the loss of the suspended Phil Bardsley, and injured duo Marc Muniesa (hamstring) and Geoff Cameron (thigh).
For Newcastle, the derby disappointment may be fresh in the mind but midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum – who scored four goals in the rout of Norwich – says there is no time to dwell on defeat.
“You must always recover. We beat Norwich 6-2 and now we want to win against Stoke City. We’ve trained hard and worked hard,” he told the Newcastle Echo.
“We have lost the derby, that’s the situation. We have to deal with it now.”
Newcastle were boosted by having captain Coloccini’s red card overturned on appeal, but midfielder Jack Colback (knee) – who would have been suspended anyway – has joined the likes of Tim Krul (knee), Steven Taylor (hamstring) and Emmanuel Riviere (knee) on the injury list.
Key Opta stats:
– Newcastle United are without a win in their last three Premier League clashes with Stoke (D1 L2), scoring just once in the process, after winning four of the previous five.
– The Potters have scored exactly one goal in each of their last five PL meetings with Newcastle.
– Newcastle have lost just one of their six Premier League games against Stoke at St James’ Park (W3 D2 L1), and are unbeaten in the last four (W3 D1).
– The Magpies have thrown away seven points from leading positions in the top-flight this season; only Aston Villa have dropped more (eight).
– Peter Crouch scored in both of the Potters’ league meetings with Newcastle last season.
– Republic of Ireland forward Jonathan Walters has bagged four PL goals against Newcastle – only against Liverpool and QPR has he managed more (both five).