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With promotion to the Premier League now highly unlikely, Michael O’Neill knows that whatever he does during the final weeks of the season may not be enough to retain his position in the Stoke dugout.
However, the Potters deserve credit for their response to a nine-game winless streak, collecting three victories from their following four fixtures.
Notably, those triumphs have been against promotion-chasing clubs, the latest success coming at West Bromwich Albion by a 3-1 scoreline last weekend.
That result was only enough to ensure that Stoke head into this game sitting in 15th spot, although the gap to 10th-placed Coventry City only stands at four points.
The argument will be that Stoke are only performing to a higher level because they are playing with more freedom but regardless of the circumstances, they are showing what they are capable of under their current boss.
Barring any injury issues, O’Neill could stick with the Stoke XI which started the victory at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
Young defender William Forrester made a strong impression on his first Championship start of the season and should retain his spot.
Ben Wilmot and Josh Maja seem likely to remain among the replacements, despite their late introductions versus the Baggies.
Antoine Semenyo may return to the Bristol City starting lineup after making an 18-minute outing last time out on the back of his recovery from injury.
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Providing that Pearson does not change from a back three, Robbie Cundy could be given another opportunity despite an indifferent performance versus Peterborough.
Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Bonham; Forrester, Jagielka, Harwood-Bellis; Smith, Baker, Vrancic, Allen, Tymon; Fletcher, Brown
Bristol City possible starting lineup:
Bentley; Cundy, Klose, Atkinson; Scott, James, Williams, Dasilva; Weimann; Semenyo, Martin