On Thursday, Stoke City will play Derby County to end their 19-day wait.
Despite having a game in their hand, the Potters are currently eighth on the Championship table. Derby County, however, is in this game after a big win over West Bromwich.
News from the team
Stoke City is not likely to welcome any of their former absentees back despite the extended break.
O’Neill will likely pick the majority of the players from the Middlesbrough side that drew on December 11.
Rooney stated that Phil Jagielka and Graeme Shinnie, Kamil Chzwiak, and Kamil Chozwiak should all be allowed to return to the squad following the coronavirus.
After spending more time isolated, Jagielka or Jozwiak are most likely to be remembered. Sam Baldock and Richard Stillman’s places are also at risk.
Colin Kazim-Richards could also be back in the starting lineup after scoring the decisive goal against West Brom.
Derby County has suddenly found a lifeline after securing back-to-back victories over Blackpool, West Bromwich, and West Bromwich during the previous two rounds. They are now only 14 points from safety, which is amazing considering that they lost 21 points to the league.
The Rams were extremely fortunate to win a sneaky victory against West Bromwich promotion contenders on Monday afternoon. The Lanterns had complete control of the pitch during the match but Derby County managed to counterattack with Colin Kazim Richards scoring the only goal from his side’s goal kick.
Possible starting lineups
Davies, Wilmott; Butters; Fox; Smith; Clucas; Allen, Vrancic; Tymon; Campbell; Fletcher
Alsop; Bourne, Jagielka, Davies; Ebersole, Thompson, Bird, Forsyth; Knight, Kazim Richards, Jozwiak
Most things concerning Derby these days revolve around who will eventually own them. This is crucial if Rooney wants to keep his current team or add to it in January.
The Rams won two consecutive victories for the first season in a row, building on their win over Blackpool by 1-0 and beating West Bromwich Albion with the same score.
These results came 16 days apart because of a coronavirus case, but they are further proof of the hard work Rooney continues at Pride Park.
Even though Derby had to rely upon luck against the Baggies for their victory, they were only 14 points away from safety.
Rooney feels his team has performed at a level that will allow them to continue to surprise their opponents over the next weeks and months. However, it remains a daunting task to close the gap even though half of the game is remaining.
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