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When Stoke travelled to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest last weekend, a share of the spoils would have probably felt like an acceptable result.
However, having led 2-1 with a player advantage heading into stoppage time, Michael O’Neill and his squad were left hugely disappointed not to collect all three points at the home of a promotion rival.
Despite their unbeaten run being extended to three games, the Potters now sit in the bottom half of the table, and it has upped the stakes ahead of this game as they bid to stay in the race for the top six.
Possessing at least one match in hand on many of the teams above them, Stoke cannot be written off at this stage, but they need to take advantage of three favourable home matches which are coming up over the next two weeks.
Josh Maja has scored in two of his three outings since joining from Bordeaux, giving a much-needed lift to a forward line which has competition for places without goals being scored at a regular rate.
Barring any injury issues, O’Neill may select the Stoke XI which performed well at Forest last weekend.
Tyrese Campbell is unlikely to be risked, despite his knee injury being less severe than first feared, with Sam Clucas potentially the only player in with a chance of a recall.
Defender Ben Wilmot heads into this contest one yellow card away from a ban.
Bowyer could also decide to stick with the same players from Birmingham’s last game should he encounter no fresh fitness concerns.
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Substitutions were only made against Luton once the game was over as a contest, with Jordan Graham impressing in his unfamiliar role at wing-back.
Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Bursik; Wilmot, Jagielka, Harwood-Bellis, Tymon; Baker, Allen, Powell; Brown, Maja, Philogene-Bidace
Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Colin, Mengi, Pedersen; Graham, Gardner, Woods, Bela; Bacuna; Taylor, Hernandez