Aston Villa v Stoke City

Stoke make the short trip down the M6 to Villa Park to face an Aston Villa team ready to perform under new boss Tim Sherwood while the Potters will remain without a number of key first-team players.

Marc Muniesa added to the growing injury list on Saturday when tearing his hamstring at Blackburn and is likely to be out for up to six weeks while Geoff Cameron serves a one-match ban.

Ryan Shawcross (back) remains out but Mark Hughes is waiting on up to four players who make their returns tomorrow.

Marc Wilson, Erik Pieters, Jon Walters and Stephen Ireland are the quartet that have recovered from injury and taken part in training at some point this week.

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Mark Hughes told his press conference: “Ryan Shawcross still isn’t available, but we are hoping we may get Marc Wilson back, who trained yesterday, and the same with Jon Walters and Stephen Ireland too.

“Erik Pieters is close too, so we are hopeful he will be available. We will have to check them today to see they are ok.”

The Welshman spoke about the cup defeat: “We are obviously hugely disappointed because we really felt that we had a real chance to do something in the cup this year.

“All of our intentions are now firmly on the league and that will hopefully serve us well. We have a run of fixtures coming up which we feel we can take a good amount of points from. We need to improve upon the Blackburn performance if we are to do that, and I am certain we will – hopefully starting at Villa Park this weekend.”

Tim Sherwood has the opposite sort of headache ahead of his first team selection in charge of the Villains.

Gabriel Agbonlahor and Carles Gil, who missed their FA Cup tie with Leicester, are both available after recovering from injuries.

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However Nathan Baker and Philippe Senderos are the only doubts for this match.

Sherwood said: “Carles and Gabby are fit. Gabby was on fire today. Everyone is flying and can’t wait to get started. They just all want to play and it’s great to see.

“Nathan is not fit. Philippe didn’t train today either. Everyone else is raring to go.”

Roger East takes charge of this match in what will be his tenth Premier League match.

In those matches he has dished out 36 yellow cards but is yet to send off a player in the top-flight.

He has officiated both of these sides once this season. He took charge of Stoke’s 2-0 win at home to West Brom while he refereed Aston Villa’s 1-0 defeat to Swansea.

The Wiltshire based official will be assisted by Richard West and Mark Scholes.


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