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Premier League Preview: Stoke City v Hull City

27 March 2014 12:11

Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes won the double together 20 years ago, but that must seem a distant memory as they prepare to meet on Saturday.

Hull City manager Bruce was captain and Stoke City counterpart Hughes scored when Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley to secure the first league and cup double in the club's history back in 1994.

Bruce will be back at Wembley next month when his side face Sheffield United in the semi-final of this season's FA Cup, as he strives to win the famous trophy for the first time as a manager.

But his immediate attention will be getting the better of his former team-mate in the Premier League encounter at the Britannia Stadium.

Bruce has openly admitted in the past that he and Hughes have "a mutual respect, but it's not right to say we're pals."

The Hull boss also revealed that the former United team-mates "did not speak for years" after Hughes recruited Mark Bowen, Bruce's assistant at Birmingham City and now in the same role at Stoke, to work as his number two for Wales and then Blackburn Rovers.

Both managers will expect their players to ensure that football does the talking on Saturday, with in-form Stoke going in search of a third consecutive victory.

Hughes' charges secured an impressive 4-1 win at Aston Villa last Sunday to leapfrog Paul Lambert's side into 10th place.

That was only their second away victory of the season in the Premier League and Stoke will fancy their chances of picking up another three points, given that Liverpool and Norwich City are the only side to have beaten them in their own backyard in the top flight this term.

Stoke have suffered just one defeat in their last eight games - a 1-0 loss at title-chasing Manchester City - and have won three of their last four matches.

Hull's last win at Stoke came back in January 2006, but they have drawn 1-1 in three of their last four trips to the Staffordshire club.

Bruce will be looking to build momentum ahead of the trip to Wembley as his players attempt to cement their place in the starting line-up for the clash with Nigel Clough's League One side.

But they will need to bounce back from their midweek Premier League disappointment against West Ham, where they lost 2-1 in controversial circumstances.

Mark Noble scored from a hotly debated penalty and, although Hull equalised when Tom Huddlestone's free-kick went in off Nikica Jelavic, a James Chester own-goal consigned the visitors to defeat.

And that reverse also came at a cost, with goalkeeper Allan McGregor suffering a serious kidney injury in an incident that saw him sent off for the penalty.

McGregor would have been suspended for this clash anyway, but he now looks set for a spell on the sidelines regardless, with Bruce confirming: "Unfortunately he's in a bad way, he's certainly got kidney damage.

"The specialist is on his way to see him. He's got contusion of his kidney, which we are hoping is not ruptured, but it looks a nasty one at the minute."

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam, meanwhile, comes back into contention after serving a three-match ban, but Jonathan Walters sits out the final game of his suspension.

Stephen Ireland is also available after being ineligible to face his former club Villa, but Oussama Assaidi is a doubt and Robert Huth (knee) is definitely out.

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Thursday 2 October

Wednesday 1 October

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Tuesday 30 September

23:57
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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
9 6 +0 8
10 6 +0 8
11 6 +0 8
12 6 -1 8
13 6 +0 7

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