Stoke City vs West BromEnglish Championship, KO: 20:00 Nov 4, 2019, Bet365 Stadium
STOKE CITY have finally brought the axe down on boss Nathan Jones but it would be surprise if they got an instant uplift in fortune when West Brom calling.
Jones' departure has been long overdue for most fans, with even the man himself thinking he would be axed after a dismal 1-0 loss at home to Huddersfield at the start of October made it 10 Championship games without a win.
But the board showed remarkable patience with him and that faith was initially rewarded when Jones led his struggling side to shock wins over promotion-chasing Swansea and Fulham in his next two games.
Just when it looked like things were finally improving, the storm clouds returned once more, with Stoke then losing at Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall without even scoring a goal.
That proved to be the final straw and Jones was relieved of his duties on Friday, with former boss Tony Pulis reportedly being lined up as his replacement. Preston's Alex Neil has also been linked with the job, although North End issued a hands-off warning over the weekend.
Coaches Rory Delap, Kevin Russell and Andy Quy have taken charge on a permanent basis until a new gaffer is appointed.
Teams often get a bounce from a change of manager but I'd be surprised if that happened here, with West Brom in such good form.
While Stoke went into the weekend sitting second bottom, with only goal difference keeping them above Barnsley, the Baggies sat proudly at the top of the pile.
Slaven Bilic has done a good job at the Hawthorns since taking the reins in the summer and his side head to the Potteries on the back of a four-game unbeaten run.
Momentum has stalled a little with 2-2 draws at home against Barnsley and Charlton in their last two games but Bilic's men have still only tasted defeat once this season in the Championship.
Even that defeat came at one of the toughest venues, 1-0 to Leeds at Elland Road, so it's easy to see why the bookies make them favourites for a win at Stoke. West Brom are a best 29/20 with Unibet and that looks good value given the respective fortunes of both sides.
Stoke's recent record against the Hawthorns side is terrible, winning just one of their last nine meetings, so the stats suggest an away win.
The Baggies have kept just two clean sheets all season but both came on the road, in wins over QPR and Middlesbrough. With Stoke struggling for goals the price on West Brom shutting them out looks decent at 2/1 with Coral.
Struggling sides often stick the boot in but that hasn't been the case with Stoke this season, which maybe explains why they haven't been able to grind out results.
Since Joe Allen saw red in the defeat at home to Bristol City in mid-September, Stoke have averaged just one yellow card per game.
West Brom are more in the image of their fiery gaffer and have been racking up far more bookings. They've picked up at least three cards in their last three games so back the Baggies to pick up more cards here or the first booking. The bookies haven't priced this up yet but I'll keep an eye out for odds.
Nathan Ferguson is suspended after his red against Charlton and it could pay to back a Baggies player for a card. Midfielder Jake Livermore has copped yellows in three of his last four games so looks good value for a card at 9/4 with Bet365.
On-loan Sporting Lisbon midfielder Matheus Pereira has been in good scoring form of late for West Brom, with three goals from his last six games. That makes him decent value for anytime scorer at 7/2 with Paddy Power.
This English Championship match between Stoke City and West Brom will be played on Nov 4, 2019 and kick off at 20:00