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Match Previews

Preview: Rovers v Stoke City

A look ahead to this afternoon's encounter against t

16 January 2021

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Tony Mowbray's men return to league action for the visit of Stoke City to Ewood Park later today.

Mowbray's men will be looking for back-to-back league victories having defeated Birmingham City two weeks ago at St Andrew's.

The boss has been boosted by the availability of Lewis Holtby and Ryan Nyambe, who both missed last weekend's Emirates FA Cup tie with Doncaster Rovers.

New arrival Jarrad Branthwaite could be in line for a debut following his signing from Everton this week, with Rovers light on the ground in terms of defensive reinforcements.

Daniel Ayala is expected to be out of action for the next few weeks, whilst Derrick Williams and Scott Wharton are long-term absentees.

Elsewhere, Elliott Bennett has been back in training but won't be available to play, whilst Joe Rankin-Costello and Corry Evans are edging closer to their long-awaited returns to action.

For Stoke, goalkeeping duo Adam Davies and Angus Gunn returned to training this week, while Morgan Fox, Steven Fletcher and Lee Gregory are also stepping up their recoveries.

Meanwhile, Josh Tymon will be available for selection following a period of self-isolation.

Nick Powell and James Chester are also primed for a return after the pair were rested for last weekend’s Emirates FA Cup tie.

It was in fact Powell's header that won the fixture last month for the Potters in a 1-0 triumph at the bet365 Stadium.

And ahead of today's contest, Michael O'Neill is wary that Rovers will be seeking revenge following the disappointment in the reverse clash.

"They're a good side," the Stoke boss expressed to his club's official website.

"They've got one of the top scorers in the division in Adam Armstrong. He's had a fantastic season and I think he's a great player.

"They've got good players, there's no doubt about that. They've been a free-scoring team but they've not been without their own challenges, they've had injuries and been unsettled in their back four at times.

"We expect a tough game and hopefully an open game we can come out on top in.

"I was very impressed with them in the game here. It was a tough game for us which we managed to win 1-0.

"I don't think this game will be any easier."

Supporters can still purchase a live video match pass for only £10 for this afternoon's contest. To purchase yours, please click here.

A reminder that kick-off is at 3pm later on today.

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