I’ve just been looking at the Championship table and it makes for interesting viewing.
Only Bristol City have won their last five games and there’s only one club, Brentford, who have won four out of the five.
So it’s definitely a very topsy-turvy league, as many have said, where anyone can beat anyone.
Which is a good thing and exactly how it should be, in my opinion.
The reason I was looking, was to give me some basis on my total guess of how the game might go.
And before I looked, I was working on the assumption that we’d lost before we kicked off.
So imagine my surprise when I found that Stoke’s record is actually worse than ours. At least we managed to beat Ipswich, while Stoke were held to a draw, albeit away.
And then, after reading that Saido Berahino has been arrested for drink-driving, I read today that Liam Lawrence, the Stoke legend(?) has said that he’s hearing some horror stories about Stoke’s players.
There’s no doubting that Lawrence wants Berahino sacked and I saw their manager suggesting that the player is a bad ‘un and he only wants “good people” at the club.
Which all suggests that Stoke are in quite a bit of turmoil, which sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?
So maybe things are looking up for us when it comes to this game?
On Stokes’s side, Berahino will surely not be available, but defender Tom Edwards may be, after a head injury.
As for us, we’re still without James Chester and Jack Grealish, but that’s no real surprise.
Kalinic is also doubtful after his head injury, but the main news is that John McGinn serves the first of his two match ban.
And it’s that latter part that concerns me.
What’s a midfield without McGinn going to look like?
If Dean Smith goes with Jedinak, Whelan and Hourihane, well, you just can’t see any pace or inventiveness at all, can you?
Maybe El Ghazi will come in and play a number 10 role?
I’d say he has the tools in his locker to do the job and it might even suit him, as he is skilful. But he hasn’t really looked the part lately, along with many of our players.
Maybe Smith will go with a couple of kids to up our energy levels, but I’m not convinced, as he might see this as a game which we’d be looking to win, to get our season rolling again. And experience is the way to go.
I’m afraid I think that any team that is going to lose to us will have to be incredibly poor.
And if they can put even half a decent game together, I’d expect us to be beaten.
With that, I’m going to predict a 1-1 draw, but it’s more in hope than expectation.
Yes, I think we’re really that poor a team at the moment.
I strongly suspect we’ll lose, I’m afraid.