Aston Villa v Stoke preview

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has confirmed that Darren Bent will be in his squad to face Stoke on Saturday, but he is likely to be on the bench.

Last Updated: 08/12/12 at 14:13

Darren Bent: Unable to force his way into Paul Lambert's starting XI

Darren Bent: Unable to force his way into Paul Lambert's starting XI

With the experience of Ron Vlaar (calf) and Richard Dunne (groin) still sidelined, Villa's defensive youngsters will be offered another opportunity to impress against the Potters.

Charles N'Zogbia is also among those currently nursing knocks, with the Frenchman laid low with a knee complaint, and Lambert must decide whether to stick with his ball-players in midfield or look to inject some physicality into his starting XI against a strong Stoke side.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis is hopeful striker Peter Crouch will be able to return to action against one of his former employers.

Crouch, who missed last weekend's 1-0 victory at West Brom having lost some teeth in a collision with Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini in the previous match, has had a mouth guard fitted and is being monitored in training, while Pulis is also optimistic forward Cameron Jerome will be fit for selection after an ankle injury kept him out of the Baggies contest.

It remains to be seen whether or not fellow frontman Michael Owen, sidelined for the last few weeks by a hamstring problem, is ready to feature again, and the Potters will definitely be without midfielders Charlie Adam, who serves a one-match suspension, and Rory Delap (hernia), along with defender Marc Wilson (broken leg).

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Premier League Fixtures

Saturday, 19 April 2014
12:45
Tottenham v Fulham  
15:00
A Villa v Southampton
Cardiff v Stoke City
Newcastle v Swansea
West Ham v C Palace
17:30
Chelsea v Sunderland  
Sunday, 20 April 2014
12:00
Norwich v Liverpool  
14:05
Hull City v Arsenal
16:10
Everton v Man Utd  
Monday, 21 April 2014
20:00
Man City v West Brom  

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Liverpool 34 51 77
2 Chelsea 34 42 75
3 Man City 33 54 71
4 Arsenal 34 18 67
5 Everton 34 21 66
6 Tottenham 34 0 60
7 Man Utd 33 18 57
8 Southampton 34 5 48
9 Newcastle 34 -14 46
10 Stoke City 34 -10 43
11 C Palace 34 -14 40
12 West Ham 34 -9 37
13 Hull City 33 -6 36
14 A Villa 33 -14 34
15 Swansea 34 -5 33
16 West Brom 33 -11 33
17 Norwich 34 -27 32
18 Fulham 34 -40 30
19 Cardiff 34 -34 29
20 Sunderland 33 -25 26

Updated Thu, 17 Apr 2014

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