After enjoying a five-game unbeaten league run, claiming 11 points in the process, Sheffield United have since suffered back-to-back defeats away from home against Middlesbrough and Bournemouth.
The Blades were leading in their most recent encounter against the Cherries thanks to a strike from Morgan Gibbs-White, however Scott Parker’s side turned the game on its head with two goals in three minutes midway through the second half from Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing, condemning the visitors to their fifth defeat of the campaign.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s men remain in the bottom half of the Championship and have slipped down to 14th place, six points behind the playoffs and just four clear of the relegation zone.
Sheffield United have only faced Stoke twice in the last 14 years, claiming score draws in both home and away matches during the 2018-19 season.
The Blades are set to face a challenging opponent on Saturday, but if they are serious about their promotion hopes this campaign, then a consistent run of positive results is required, starting with three points against the Potters.
Stoke City became the first side to defeat high-flying West Bromwich Albion before the international break, claiming a slender 1-0 victory on home soil.
After Sam Surridge had his second-half penalty saved by Sam Johnstone, the deadlock was eventually broken in the 79th minute when Nick Powell dinked the ball over the outrushing Johnstone, to seal all three points for the Potters.
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The 27-year-old has now scored in each of his last three league matches and is the club’s top goalscorer so far this term with six strikes to his name.
Michael O’Neill’s men have consolidated their place in the playoffs and have climbed into fourth, just four points behind Championship leaders Bournemouth, who they will face next Tuesday.
Stoke are enjoying their best league start in 17 years, and another victory against one of the Championship’s pre-season favourites on Saturday would see them viewed by the rest of the league as real contenders for promotion