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Stoke vs Leicester predictions: Schumacher's new formula can deny leaders
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Simon Barlow
Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca knows his side face a tough test at Stoke on Saturday.
Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca knows his side face a tough test at Stoke on Saturday.

- Leicester dropped points in two of their last three away league games
- Stoke have avoided defeat at home to top-four sides Leeds and Ipswich
- Recommended Bet: Stoke or Draw - Double Chance

Leaders Leicester head to struggling Stoke for Saturday's Championship fixture with the two clubs looking to move on from contrasting fortunes in the January transfer window.

The Foxes, who went 10 points clear at the top after beating Swansea in midweek, failed to get any new faces in after a deadline-day deal for Inter Milan midfielder Stefano Sensi collapsed.

The lack of backing for head coach Enzo Maresca at such a crucial time will be a concern after the Italian recently voiced his frustrations and threatened to leave if doubts over his philosophy intensify.

Stoke, who sit just seven points above the relegation zone in 19th place, were able to sign winger Million Manhoef in from Vitesse Arnhem and Niall Ennis from Blackburn to give Steven Schumacher's attacking options a much-needed boost.

Team news

Schumacher is expected to include Dutch attacker Manhoef from the start against Leicester with Ennis, who has not started a game since Boxing Day, providing the Potters with a good option off the bench.

The ex-Plymouth manager will be expected to make several changes to the team that surrendered 3-1 to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, with Andre Vidigal and Ryan Mmaee both hoping for recalls.

Lewis Baker could return in central midfield, while Ki-Jana Hoever may replace Lynden Gooch in the line-up after Black Cats star Jack Clarke gave the right-back a torrid time last weekend.

There will also be a change in goal with Jack Bonham replacing Stoke's on-loan Danish keeper Daniel Iversen, who is ineligible to face his parent club.

Leicester, meanwhile, look set to make minimal changes after getting back on track with a solid 3-1 win over the Swans.

Nigerian duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfried Ndidi remain out through international duty and injury respectively, but Abdul Fatawu is available again after serving a three-match ban.

However, the winger may have to settle for a spot on the bench in the Potteries after goals in successive games made a stronger case for Yunus Akgun to return to Maresca's starting XI.

The stats

Stoke are winless in seven league games against Leicester, with their last victory against the Foxes coming at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League back in January 2015.

Maresca's men eased to a 2-0 win over the Potters when the two sides met there earlier this season, with the goals scored by Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy.

But, for all their recent struggles against the Foxes, Leicester have yet to complete a league double over Stoke since the 1989-90 season.

Leicester have only lost one of their last 14 games in all competitions, although that taste of defeat did come in their last away game at Coventry.

Steven Schumacher has been able to strengthen his Stoke squad before the transfer window closed.
Steven Schumacher has been able to strengthen his Stoke squad before the transfer window closed.


Those willing to support the Foxes at odds-on prices will point to the fact that Maresca's team have won all but one of their away games against bottom-half opponents this term.

Leicester looked good against Swansea in midweek, but have dropped points in two of their last three Championship away fixtures.

Stoke may be struggling, but the owners have backed new boss Schumacher in the transfer window and that should lead to some renewed optimism around the squad.

The Potters rose to the challenge in beating fourth-placed Leeds and drawing with second-placed Ipswich at home earlier this season and can deny the visitors all three points on Saturday.

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