FA Cup: Crystal Palace v Stoke match preview
A look ahead to this weekend's FA Cup fixture at Selhurst
After reaching the 2011 FA Cup final, which allowed them to compete in the Europa League, Stoke begin this season's campaign at Selhurst Park. Tony Pulis' side, looking for their first win in three games, will be boosted by the news that captain Ryan Shawcross has agreed a new long-term deal to remain at the club.
1990 finalists Crystal Palace, meanwhile, have fallen to third in the Championship following an inconsistent string of results. Though a cup run could divert the Eagles' promotion push, arguably distracting them from the most important matter at hand, a win over Premier League opposition on home turf would certainly not do any harm to their confidence.
Marc Wilson and Rory Delap are both ruled out for the visitors, while Danny Higginbotham has departed for Sheffield United. As for Palace, Damien Delaney returns from a three-match suspension, while Owen Garvan and Joel Ward are injured, and Kagisho Dikgacoi has departed to represent South Africa at the African Cup of Nations.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Stoke 1 (Whelan) Crystal Palace 2 (Soares, Fonte), Championship, April 2008
Crystal Palace 1 (Freedman) Stoke 3 (Cresswell 2, Shawcross), Championship, October 2007
Stoke 2 (Parkin, Fuller) Crystal Palace 1 (Zakuani OG), Championship, April 2007
This will be the first meeting between Stoke and Crystal Palace in any cup competition.
Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace's 20-year-old winger attracting much interest in the transfer window, has averaged one goal every eight games in his career so far.
Newcastle are the only Premier League team to have played a higher proportion of passes over 35 yards than Stoke (16%) this season.
Crystal Palace's top scorer in 2012-13 is Glenn Murray, with 22 goals – 16 more than Jon Walters' tally for Stoke – though the London side have gone six games without a clean sheet.
Crystal Palace to win: 3
Stoke to win: 3.5
TV: Highlights on ITV1 at 11pm
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