Michael Owen will be hoping he’s given his first Premier League start for Stoke when they face Southampton on Sunday in what will be his final match before retirement.
The striker joined the Potters in September on a one-year contract but in March announced he would retire at the end of the current campaign. He has made seven appearances from the bench for Stoke but has yet to feature from the start.
With little riding on the game for either side, Tony Pulis may gift Owen the start he desires to cap off a long and successful playing career, albeit one riddled with injuries.
Southampton and Stoke are two of a cluster of sides who can finish anywhere between 10 and 17 – with the opposing pair currently three places but just one point apart in the Premier League standings.
The Saints can breathe easy now that their safety was confirmed following Wigan’s relegation on Tuesday night but will still hope to finish the season with a flourish, capitalising on a low-scoring Stoke outfit who have picked up the fewest points of any side in the division in 2013.
Both sides must also contend with suspensions with Danny Fox and Gaston Ramirez missing for the home side while the Potters will be without Charlie Adam following his sending off against Tottenham last week.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 4pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Stoke 3 (Jones, Upson, Jerome), Southampton 3 (Lambert, Rodriquez, Wilkinson OG), Premier League, December 2012
Stoke 3 (Powell OG, Shawcross, Sidibe), Southampton 2 (John 2), Championship, February 2008
Southampton 3 (Surman, Rasiak, Viafara), Stoke 2 (Fuller, Parkin), Championship, August 2007
- Southampton have dropped the most points (29) from winning positions in the Premier League this season.
- At 13, Stoke have collected the fewest Premier League points in 2013 so far.
- The Potters have won just two of their last 27 away matches in the Premier League, scoring just 12 away goals this season and only 33 in total – fewer than everyone bar bottom club QPR.
- Stoke have committed the most fouls (478) and been given the most yellow cards (76) in the Premier League this season.
- Rickie Lambert, who has scored 14 league goals this season, has gone six matches without finding the back of the net.
Southampton to win: 1.8
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10:25pm.