Stoke City will hope to keep their Europa league aspirations alive when they host a resurgent Swansea City side at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Stoke have won four of their last six league games and currently trail fifth-placed West Ham by four points, which has left manager Mark Hughes in a buoyant mood.
“We are on a good run of form at the moment having won three of our last four, and I think only Tottenham and Leicester have a better record than us over a six-game period, which is encouraging,” he said in the pre-match interview.
“We are getting a bit of consistency to what we are producing now and if we can continue that then we should end the season well.”
Swansea also come into the fixture in good form having won three of their last four games, steering them away from relegation danger and, with the return of manager Francesco Guidolin from illness, they will be confident of getting a result despite the uncertainty of the Italian coach’s future.
“If I can work here in the future, I will be very happy,” Guidolin said. “I am proud and happy to be here, but I do not know what the future holds. I can say that the most important thing is Swansea being safe, and afterwards we will see.”
In team news, Hughes is set to give Danish goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard his Premier League debut after Jack Butland’s injury on international duty with England ruled him out for the rest of the campaign. Jonathan Walters will also miss out after the Irish forward underwent surgery to repair cartilage in his knee.
Stoke’s defensive crisis may improve with left-back Erik Pieters facing a late fitness test but Geoff Cameron, Glen Johnson and Ryan Shawcross are definitely ruled out.
The Swans will be without their midfield talisman Andre Ayew for a third successive game with reported ankle problems while wingers Jefferson Montero and Modou Barrow will undergo fitness tests after representing Ecuador and Gambia respectively during the international break.