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Match Preview: City v Stoke

City take on Stoke City in the fifth round of the FA Cup looking for a victory that will take them through to another quarter final.

The blues have been involved in five quarter finals over the last five season but have been knocked out at that stage on all but one of those occasions, the only exception being in this season League Cup, when Arsenal were beaten 3-0 at Eastlands.

The blues will be confident of progressing, following the 2-0 midweek win over Bolton, which has left them level on points with fourth placed Liverpool and with two games in hand.

So far this season, City have beaten Middlesbrough (1-0) and Scunthorpe (4-2) away to get them to the fifth round.

Stoke sit in a comfortable mid table position in twelve place, seven points ahead of the relegation zone and manager Tony Pulis has stated his team will ‘have a right go’ at City but has also hinted that the FA Cup may not take priority.

Stoke were beaten 2-0 in the league game in December but are hoping to become the first team to win at Eastlands this season. Stoke couldn’t have played teams further apart on their road to the fifth round. Non league York City were beaten in the third round before Arsenal were sent packing in the fourth. Both games were at the Britannia Stadium and both ended 3-1. Spooky (not).

If the game ends in a draw, the replay date will be 24tH February with a 1945 kick off time.

Team News:

City will be without the cup-ties Adam Johnson, who played against the blues for Middlesbrough in the third round. His absence will leave the door open for Shaun Wright-Phillips or Martin Petrov to make the starting eleven.

Craig Bellamy was given the all clear on his troublesome knee this week and is expected to feature and Stephen Ireland will be hoping to use the game to regain some of his lost form.

Stoke captain Abdoulaye Faye has recovered from a back injury which has forced him to miss the last two games while Ricardo Fuller and Tuncay Sanli are vying for starting place up front.

Over The Blue Moon Prediction: City 2-0 Stoke

Cup games are hard to predict but City should see themselves into the hat at Stoke’s expense.

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