Arsenal

Stoke City receive boost in relegation battle ahead of crunch Southampton tie

Paul Lambert relieved a number of Stoke City fans in the Tavern today when he gave updates on the club’s injury list. Lambert said they have a few players coming back, including club captain Ryan Shawcross and Stoke’s all-time Premier League top scorer, Peter Crouch. Keeping key players fit is an obvious requirement in Premier League survival and having Crouch and Shawcross back could be vital if Stoke are to stay up.

The Potters currently find themselves languishing 19th in the Premier League but are only one point adrift of safety, despite having the worst goal difference in the division. Things don’t seem to be looking up for Stoke either as after travelling to Southampton on Saturday, they face Manchester City, Everton, Arsenal and Spurs between the 12th March and 7th April.

The tough run-in of fixtures for Stoke will require them to have their strongest possible eleven if they’re to come out of the end of the season with their top-flight status in tact. Crouch and Shawcross, despite having a combined age of 67, have made 24 and 19 appearances respectively and are key players in a Stoke side that look in desperate need of a revamp come the summer transfer window.

Crouch’s four goals this season in the league have gained Stoke valuable points that they won’t be able to go without come the end of the season. However, the former Tottenham and Liverpool man will need to be at the top of his game if he is to help the Potters avoid dropping to the second tier of English football.

Ryan Shawcross has also been sorely missed by the Stoke City faithful as the club have shipped 54 goals in just 28 games this season, more than any other club in England’s top flight. In the nine games Shawcross has missed this season, Stoke have conceded 26 goals, compared to the 28 goals they’ve conceded in games that the 30-year-old has appeared in. Stoke are also yet to keep a clean sheet in a game where their captain hasn’t featured.

Potters all over the country will be optimistic to get Crouch and Shawcross back in the starting eleven as soon as possible if they want to add to their six league wins and climb out of the relegation zone this season.

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