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Dreams of 1995

ROVERS VS STOKE CITY

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Apologies for the delay in this thread. I have been busier than expected!

ROVERS vs Stoke City - 22nd September 2018.

First of all I thought it wise to compare our current position to this time last season. Occasionally we have tendencies to let ourselves get rather worked up by a poor string of results, or disappointing performances, or BBQs. It's important to remember how far we have come in 12 months. The last time I wrote a match review was Rovers vs Wigan last season. In it I called it the last chance saloon for Mowbray unless we won - we didn't. I called for his sacking that night and genuinely believed we wouldn't get anywhere with him in charge. In one of my more humbling of moments I'm happy to say how wrong I was. Under Mowbray's leadership we've seen a tremendous upturns in fortunes. There's still work to do, make no mistake, but what a 12 months it has been. 

On the 16th September we lost 1-0 at home to AFC Wimbledon. On the 23rd September we drew to Shrewsbury 1-1 thanks to a last minute goal by Dack. After that Shrewsbury game we sat 9th in League 1 a whole 44 places behind Burnley, 10 places behind Bolton and 30 places behind Preston in the football league. We had Ward and Caddis in our back 4; a bench that comprised of Antonson, Hart & Whittingham.

Fast forward a year and we are ahead of both Preston & Bolton and only 14 places behind Burnley in the football league. Our bench is strong - Rothwell, Palmer, Brereton and Reed on the bench. Things look a lot brighter. We have Dack in attack, Mulgrew at the back... We are on our way to Stoke. 

Stoke City

Stoke-on-Trent. A city famous for Phil Taylor, a river, pottery, Rory Delapy's long throw, Port Vale, the BNP, Stanley Matthews, football hooliganism and..ducks. There's not much I can say about Stoke City except those going be careful - between the "Naughty Forty", all pushing way over 60 by now ironically, and the women you'll be safe to get out with both eyes. It's not far from Manchester and not far from Birmingham. Somewhere in between. 

Honestly, there's really not much to say. They make a good vase and like a good punch up. It's about it.

In terms of football it is a club with a rich history. The aforementioned Stanley Matthews could play a bit. He had a career spanning well over 30 years which is remarkable considering there was a war of sorts in between. A player who earned accolades from greats such as Cloughie, who said, in his own way "they don't make them like him anymore".

They have also had a decent keeper in the past too. World Cup winner Gordon Banks who is also the club President. 

It's worth noting that the nations favourite football pundit has also tried his luck at management here too. Our very own Kammy had a go in the 90s but, as you'd expect, he didn't see the year out. Unbelievable Jeff.

Our History

We have beaten Stoke 42 times and they have beaten us 35 (all lucky) with 15 draws. However the last time we beat them in the league was in 2008 so here's to 10 years lucky.

The last time we played Stoke City we hammered them 4-1. Josh King bagged himself a hat trick before going on to run the Premier League and Rudy Gestede got a goal, before he too went off to run the, err, line for Villa or something. Where is he now?

The day a rather large fella by the name of Peter Crouch got a goal. Remarkably he still plays. The days of the "long-ball Stoke" seem to have gone as they try to play a more attractive form of football but, clearly, they still hang on to the weapon of height. Something tells me he'll fancy his chances against a Rovers side that has shown themselves to be fairly poor in the air.

There is a player called Mame Biram Diouf for them. You might remember him from his season long loan at Rovers in our "better" years. Not a great player to be honest and reckon he was only here to try and calm El Hadji down back then. 

Likewise they bought N'Zonzi from us. A fantastic player who really came into his own whilst at Stoke. They bought him for a pittance of £3million pounds so a little come back this weekend will go a long way - they'll only owe us a further £45million then for his true worth. Class act.

They too have been managed by Mark Hughes, of course, although I think we may look back at him more fond than they do. His "big money" signings like Imbula couldn't hack the rigours of English football and he was eventually hounded out by the ducks and sacked. He's in a better place now though.

Stoke's Current Fortunes

Stoke are now managed by Garry Rowett. A man who got Derby to the play offs last season. Rowett strikes me as a "nearly man" having "nearly" turned Birmingham City's fortunes around also. His start hasn't been the greatest but they got a good win vs Swansea on the weekend. They are currently below us in the table on 9 points - 2 points behind us and will be 5 points behind us come Saturday evening. Their current squad is littered with full internationals: Joe Allen, Jack Butland, Martins Indi, Affelay, Fletcher and of course have the likes of Shawcross (thug) and Bojan. None will be a match for King Smallwood though so it's not too much of a worry.

They also have the rather thuggish James McClean so here's to hoping Smallwood puts an end to that lads disgraces early on. 

Predictions

This will be undoubtedly a tough game. Stoke are still fresh out of the Premier League and we'll be on their own turf. I strongly back this squad against any team this league so I can see yet another score draw. 2-2 for me with a late goal by one side - they aren't too good at holding onto leads either.

Dack and Armstrong to score.

It will be a good day - easy to travel too, should take some good numbers and a pretty decent ground to watch the game in. Let's go ducks (did I use it right?)

 

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Not far away, big following, we know how these tend to go.....

Stoke 3   Rovers  0

Heart says we might just get another 0-0 shut out though !

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Going to be a tough game again. Looking forward to it and hope we perform better than on Tuesday night and get the 3 points.

Raya

Nyambe Lenihan Mulgrew Williams

Reed Evans

Bennett Dack Rothwell

Graham

Subs: Leutwiler, Bell, Smallwood, Palmer, Armstrong, Brereton, Downing

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3 minutes ago, roversfan99 said:

Going to be a tough game again. Looking forward to it and hope we perform better than on Tuesday night and get the 3 points.

Raya

Nyambe Lenihan Mulgrew Williams

Reed Evans

Bennett Dack Rothwell

Graham

Subs: Leutwiler, Bell, Smallwood, Palmer, Armstrong, Brereton, Downing

Same team for me although i wouldnt be suprised if Mowbray puts Evans on the bench for this one and keeps Smallwood in.

Hopefully Graham isn't too leggy and get through at least an hour's work.

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                       Raya

Nyambe Lenihan Mulgrew Bell

            Smallwood Reed

Bennett          Dack        Rothwell

                      Brereton

Subs

Luetwiler Williams Downing Evans Graham Armstrong Palmer

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8 hours ago, chaddyrovers said:

                       Raya

Nyambe Lenihan Mulgrew Bell

            Smallwood Reed

Bennett          Dack        Rothwell

                      Brereton

Subs

Luetwiler Williams Downing Evans Graham Armstrong Palmer

I think I'd go with that team. Reed and Rothwell need to be given their chance in midfield. Obviously other people will prefer Evans to Smallwood. Armstrong and Palmer haven't done enough to hold on to the shirt.

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If we turn up how we did the other night, I think we'll get taken apart.

Stoke haven't quite got to grip with things yet, I look at there team on paper though and think it's only a matter of time before things click for them.

Easiest game of the season for me, quite novel that I can get a bus 5 minutes walk from my house straight into the town centre. (Not Hanley!)

Hope we freshen the team up just a bit, I'd be tempted to throw Brereton in from the start as our main striker, he should be fired up for this one being a local lad.

I'd bring in Reed too, possibly Rothwell but I'd be tempeted to keep Armstrong in just for his sheer pace.

Raya, Nyambe, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Bell, Evans, Reed, Bennett, Dack, Armstrong, Brereton

Subs - Canadian, Downing, Williams, Smallwood, Rothwell, Palmer, Graham

 

Edited by MarkBRFC

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Rowett has always been a counter-attacking manage and his sides have never been the most attractive to watch. I don't think they'll rip into us like Derby did but I think they've got more presence up front. Afobe has always looked a good player, especially at this level. Lenny will need to be on his game. Their team in their last game:

                          Butland,

Martina, Shawcross, Martins-Indi, Pieters

                Woods, Etebo, Allen,

 Ince,                    Afobe.                      Diouf,     

Subs: Federici, Edwards, Williams, Fletcher, Berahino, Crouch, Bojan.

Not a bad bench!

Woods looked excellent in the 15 minutes I saw on SKY after the Rovers game on Tuesday. It's a very strong midfield and I'll bet Dack gets a lot of attention like he has in the last two games. Rothwell may start after Moggas comments in the LT today. 

Tough game. A draw would be a great result but I think we may succumb to a narrow defeat. 1-0 to Stoke. 

 

 

 

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Graham has to start this one against those centre halves. I would be tempted to play Rothwell and Bennett out wide, both capable of coming inside if Allen and Woods are bossing things. I will go with a 1-1 Stoke to score in the first half and Dack with an equaliser mid way through the second half, followed by a squeaky bum last 5 minutes. 

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1-4, would have been 0-4 but Crouch will score his customary goal against us.

Shalom

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20 minutes ago, ChrisPriceBaldSpot said:

Graham has to start this one against those centre halves. I would be tempted to play Rothwell and Bennett out wide, both capable of coming inside if Allen and Woods are bossing things. I will go with a 1-1 Stoke to score in the first half and Dack with an equaliser mid way through the second half, followed by a squeaky bum last 5 minutes. 

I see them as playing in the middle and able to run wide for attacks. I'd like to see:

---------------------Raya

Nyambe  Lenihan  Mulgrew  Bell

-------Bennett  Reed  Rothwell

---------------------Dack

----------Graham  Armstrong

 

I know it's never been played, but those 3 in the middle are full of workrare and running, equally capable of defending if we're under the cosh, or filling in for the full backs as they bomb on, or (particularly Bennett and Rothwell) getting wide and forward in support of the attack.

It may be my backside talking, but I like that side.

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25 minutes ago, Mike E said:

I see them as playing in the middle and able to run wide for attacks. I'd like to see:

---------------------Raya

Nyambe  Lenihan  Mulgrew  Bell

-------Bennett  Reed  Rothwell

---------------------Dack

----------Graham  Armstrong

 

I know it's never been played, but those 3 in the middle are full of workrare and running, equally capable of defending if we're under the cosh, or filling in for the full backs as they bomb on, or (particularly Bennett and Rothwell) getting wide and forward in support of the attack.

It may be my backside talking, but I like that side.

Evans has to play imo. Judging by TM comments I don't see Reed starting yet, at least not away from home. I would go

Raya

NYAMBE LENIHAN MULGREW BELL 

SMALLWOOD EVANS 

BENNETT DACK ROTHWELL 

GRAHAM 

 

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Tricky one this.  Being exposed to counter-attack is something to be wary of.  Plugging positional gaps across the mid-field is key for me.  Graham to hold it up and attacking midfielders to bomb on when they can.  I'd go with :

 Raya

Nyambe Lenihan Mulgrew Williams

Bennett  Reed Evans

Dack Rothwell

Graham

 

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On paper that's a ridiculous team at this level, but I suppose so was ours in our relegation season and look how that turned out.

We've drawn too many this season, but as with Derby you'd have to say an away point would be a good one here. I'll think we'll get it too. 2-2

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Watched Abit of the stoke game against Swansea and they looked dangerous but missed some really good chances. I think the game against us is when stoke arrive and put us to the sword. 3-0 to stoke.

Edited by Oldgregg86

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First goal as ever crucial. If we keep it tight and get 1-0 up I can see them struggling as they have in every other game they've conceded in this season. Their manager struggles when his sides go behind and their fans will get very restless too. If they go ahead then we'll struggle as our game plan will be out of the window and we don't look like a side that has the capacity to come from behind away from home.

We need to go with no fear and not pay them too much respect although we've already had it this week about what a good side they are and how they'll get going eventually. Wigan went there and won 3-0 not long ago and I doubt Cook was telling their players what a good side Stoke were.

A point away will be a decent result and will keep us ticking over however we could do with pulling a win out of the bag rather than keep taking draws. A point here will make it 3 from 3 which 90 minutes into the Villa game would have been a disappointing return.

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I'm very concerned that they will find their form against us, as teams often seem to do.

With that being said, I do think if we can get an early goal, the natives will start to get restless and the players will start to struggle.....

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I can definitely see us getting at least a draw. 

What concerns me is that we lost 4-1 away to Bristol and 4-1 wouldn't have flattered Derby(going off the highlights anyway) , so we need to up our game big time. 

Injection of energy needed IMO. I agree with Chaddys team, although I find the call between Smallwood and Evans very difficult. We will need a gritty display, so would give Smallwood the nod as well, just about. 

                        Raya

Nyambe Lenihan Mulgrew Bell

            Smallwood Reed

Bennett          Dack        Rothwell

                      Brereton

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8 minutes ago, K-Hod said:

I'm very concerned that they will find their form against us, as teams often seem to do.

With that being said, I do think if we can get an early goal, the natives will start to get restless and the players will start to struggle.....

We absolutely have to get at them early, intensity levels 110%. If we sit back and invite them on, their confidence will grow, fans will get riled up and we all know how that will end for us. 

They have a very good squad for this level. I feel Rowett was an appointment I personally wouldn't have went with. Mick MCarthy was available and I would have went for the experience route personally. I understand long term if Rowett does well, it may be a better appointment, but if they keep struggling, he won't see Christmas and then they could very easily be caught in the cycle we have been caught in. In my opinion, glamorous or not, MCarthy would be more likely to get them up. 

Edited by Bigdoggsteel

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                                           Raya

Nyambe            Lenihan               Mulgrew           Williams

                          Evans     Reed   Smallwood

                         Palmer               Dack

                                      Brereton

Subs: Leutwiler, Downing, Bell, Bennett, Rothwell, Armstrong, Graham

Edited by Ewood Ace

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