Stoke v Newcastle – Live on BBC 1, k/o 18:00pm
Newcastle’s trip to Stoke looks to be one giant banana skin primed to put the final nail in Sam Allardyce’s St James’ Park coffin.
Stoke 13/8 Newcastle 13/10 Draw 11/5
Michael Owen first goalscorer 11/2
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Allardyce could find himself as unoccupied as Father Christmas is at this time of the year if his side have not booked their place in the fourth round come Sunday evening.
All the former Bolton boss needs to ease his, and his side’s woes, is a long trip to the Potteries to face a Stoke side that has not lost in 10 and subsequently sits fourth in The Championship.
As a result, just 13 places separate the two sides, making a repeat of the third round shock Newcastle suffered at the hands of Wolves in 2003 all the more feasible.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis is likely to have Andy Wilkinson and Ricardo Fuller available for selection but again looks set to be without the services of a trio of Premier League experience in Salif Diao, Dominic Matteo and Rory Delap.
Allardyce insists that his players will have to fight to get themselves out of their current predicament and will thus be buoyed by stand-in skipper Alan Smith’s declaration of fitness.
However, another tenacious figure, Joey Barton, is otherwise engaged for the journey to the Midlands.
With the pressure on Sam Allardyce mounting this is a must win game for Newcastle. Although Newcastle are thirteen places high than Stoke in the league standing they go into the game on the back of three defeats and one draw. However Newcastle has never lost to Stoke in the FA Cup after 5 meetings. Stoke are undefeated in ten having won and drawn five times. Stoke have also been beaten by premiership opposition in five out of the last six campaigns. Newcastle are favourites to win with Centrebet offer 13/10 with VC bet offering 21/10 for Stoke to win.
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