Football: Macari makes ready to repel Newcastle

Football

The Stoke City manager, Lou Macari, is not even attempting to play down the magnitude of the task facing his side in Coca-Cola Cup at the Victoria Ground tonight.

The Potteries club proved they have the ability to better a Premiership side when they won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the last round to oust Chelsea from the competition. Their reward was a tie against Kevin Keegan's Premiership leaders, Newcastle United, and Macari is suitably forthright in his estimation of their abilities: "They are the best and most talented side in Britain."

Macari, who hopes the defender Lee Sandford will recover from the head injury sustained in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Derby, said: "Kevin has done a great job to piece together a tremendous team. He's brought in a Belgian, a Frenchman, a couple of talented youngsters and a measure of experience. They've knitted together superbly and that doesn't always happen.

"His team resembles Kevin's attributes as a player. They fly about and keep popping up here, there and everywhere."

If Stoke are to cause an upset, they will need to do what the last seven sides to face Les Ferdinand have failed to achieve - stop him from scoring. The pounds 6.5m striker, with 15 goals from just 12 starts, will break Newcastle's club record if he makes it eight successive scoring games.

Robert Lee and Lee Clark have recovered from injuries picked up in the 6-1 demolition of Wimbledon and, despite the claims of Philippe Albert, Scott Sellars, Steve Watson, Paul Kitson and Marc Hottiger, Keegan is expected to name an unchanged side.

Another big crowd is expected at the Baseball Ground, where Derby, with the side on duty at the weekend, play host to Leeds United. Howard Wilkinson, the Yorkshire club's manager, could again be without Gary Speed and Tony Dorigo - Andy Couzens and Nigel Worthington will deputise - and his Derby counterpart, Jim Smith, has promised a highly competitive match.

"The atmosphere for cup games at Derby is always special and I know the fans will do their bit - now it's up to us to do ours," Smith said.

The cup holders, Liverpool, are again without the suspended Rob Jones for their Anfield tie with Manchester City, with Jason McAteer, in the Bolton side beaten at Wembley in April, filling in at right-back. Roy Evans again leaves out Stan Collymore - Ian Rush partners Robbie Fowler up front - and Neil Ruddock.

The City midfielder Garry Flitcroft is struggling to overcome the shin and injuries sustained in the goalless draw with Leeds. The left-back, Terry Phelan, is ruled out, as is Peter Beagrie and the cup-tied Gerry Creaney. Alan Ball adds John Foster and Michael Brown to his squad.

Savo Milosevic returns to the Aston Villa side for their game with Second Division Stockport. The pounds 3.5m striker was the victim of Brian Little's decision to play with just one forward at Arsenal on Saturday but the Villa manager confirmed he would play against the Edgeley Park side, who upset Ipswich in the second round.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent