Date: 11th August 2006 at 4:50pm
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Steve Bruce is looking forward to our match against Stoke which will be the first of seven local derbies this season.

‘Stoke are a big physical team, I was up there for the game against Derby the other night and they played like a typical Tony Pullis team – organised, uncompromising and a handful upfront with Pericard and Sidibe.

‘Those two could be in a boxing ring because they’re like heavyweight boxers.

‘It will certainly be a tough game.’

‘There’s always been a bit of history between the two clubs.

‘The last time we went there in the league we won 7-0 – a crazy game but it was one of those days that every time we went forward we scored.

‘I can’t see that being the result this weekend!

‘Nicklas has a slight ankle problem which he did in the first ten minutes against Sunderland but we hope that he’s going to be alright.

‘Sebastian has been sick since the game, so we’ll see how he is over the next 24 hours.

‘The good thing I’ve got is the competition for places as for a manager that’s always your best weapon – last year we didn’t have that.

‘I believe we will get better. The three Arsenal players have only been here a week so they will take time to see how we play.’