Aston Villa have confirmed Gerard Houllier as their new boss but caretaker Kevin MacDonald continues in charge hoping to avoid a repeat of their last away game at Newcastle United.
New customers signing up with online bookmakers can redeem free bets on tonight’s Premier League clash between Stoke City and Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium.
Villa responded to the 6-0 mauling at St James’ Park with a morale boosting 1-0 home win against Everton thanks to a Luke Young strike.
Lately meetings between the two sides have not gone Villa’s way, with only one win in the last six confrontations and bookmakers Totesport are betting 6/4 Stoke can take three points tonight.
Tony Pulis will be anxious for side to register their first win of the season and was one of the busiest managers in the final days of the summer transfer window as he looked to add to his squad.
His keeper, Thomas Sorensen missed Denmark’s Euro 2012 qualifier to receive treatment on his injured elbow and it’s hoped he will be fit to start tonight.
Striker Mamady Sidebe will miss the season with an Achilles injury, otherwise the Potters have a full strength squad available.
Pulis must decide which of his late signings will feature and changes are expected in the midfield with loanee Jermaine Pennant likely to fit straight into the side.
The forward line should stay, with Kenwynne Jones and Jonathan Walters given time to develop their fledgling partnership; new boy Eidur Gudjohnsen is set to watch from the bench.
Pennant will offer quality delivery into the box and Jones could get he opportunity to demonstrate his aerial prowess, 888 Sport are offering odds of 7/1 he will score the first goal.
The versatile Marc Wilson who signed from Portsmouth will also be considered but could find himself accompanying Gudjohnsen on the sideline.
Villa have long term injuries to youngsters Andreas Weimann who wis out until next month with an Achilles injury and exciting midfield prospect Fabian Delph who is out until January with a knee injury.
Stephen Ireland will have a fitness test before the game, the former Manchester City midfielder injured a hamstring in the warm up prior to the Everton game.
Striker John Carew is expected to have recovered sufficiently from his knee problem to take his place as lone striker.
Possible line ups:
STOKE CITY: Sorenson, Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins, Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Jones, Walters.
ASTON VILLA: Friedel, L Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Downing, A Young, Carew.