Stoke City will need to avoid a repeat of their indiscipline at St James’ Park in December when they face Newcastle United on Saturday.
Mark Hughes’ men were subjected to a 5-1 Premier League hammering on Boxing Day, with a Loic Remy double and goals from Yoan Gouffran, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse doing the damage.
That encounter was marred by two red cards in the space of three first-half minutes for Stoke, with Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson given their marching orders before Hughes was later sent to the stands.
Stoke now attempt to avenge that disappointment when they host an out-of-sorts Newcastle side that have suffered three straight defeats, conceding 11 goals in the process.
Alan Pardew’s side have lost seven of their last 10 matches in the top flight and had it not been for a strong start to the campaign, Pardew may well have been casting nervous glances at the relegation zone.
Despite their indifferent form, Newcastle appear on course for a top-10 finish with nine points separating them from 11th-placed West Ham.
Stoke – who currently sit in 10th place – can move just three points behind their opponents by consigning them to another defeat this weekend.
Hughes’ side will, however, have to improve their recent record against Newcastle, as Pardew’s men have triumphed in four of the last five Premier League encounters between the two sides.
Cisse has scored only two Premier League goals this season, but the Senegal striker has found the back of the net in each of Newcastle’s last four encounters with the Staffordshire outfit.
In contrast to Newcastle’s recent woes, Stoke had been one of the form sides in the division prior to a 3-0 setback at Chelsea last weekend.
Hughes’ charges had not been beaten in the five matches previous to that loss, with four of those ending in a victory.
Key to that success has been the form of forward Peter Odemwingie, who was on target against West Ham, Aston Villa and Hull City, and – with four goals in five appearances against Newcastle – the Nigerian will fancy his chances of adding to his tally.
Stoke’s on-loan winger Oussama Assaidi is still absent with a knee injury, an issue that has prompted him to visit a specialist in the Netherlands this week, but Stephen Ireland will be hoping to return after missing the Chelsea game with illness.
Newcastle are still without full-back Mathieu Debuchy (groin) and midfielder Moussa Sissoko (hamstring), though Pardew is hopeful striker Remy (calf) and goalkeeper Tim Krul (knee) may be fit enough to return.
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