New Stoke boss Nathan Jones has insisted the Potters have “nothing to hide” as Marcelo Bielsa’s Championship leaders Leeds prepare to visit the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.
Bielsa launched an extraordinarily detailed response this week to criticism of so-called “spying” in the wake of his side’s recent win over Derby.
And despite the Argentinian conceding he has watched “every one” of Jones’ games at his former club Luton last season, the new Stoke boss remains unfazed.
Jones, who is still searching for his first win as Potters boss after leaving Kenilworth Road, told a press conference: “People will think it’s wrong but people prepare in different ways.
“For me to sit here and say it’s wrong, I don’t think so. For me, the focus is doing the best for Stoke City. We haven’t got a lot of secrets here. We are what we are.”
Jones will bring back his regulars after making eight changes for the midweek FA Cup defeat to Shrewsbury, while the unorthodox Bielsa has already confirmed he will name an unchanged side for the tie.
Martin O’Neill has told Nottingham Forest to “stop living in the past” as he prepares to take charge of his former club for the first time against Bristol City.
Despite a glittering history during O’Neill’s playing career at the City Ground, O’Neill, who replaced Aitor Karanka this week, knows they have no divine right to return to the top-flight.
O’Neill insisted: “We can’t live in the past. That phenomenal success we had as a player will be there for ever more – but we want to try to carve some sort of niche now.”
Eleven points better off than Forest, Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United appear to stand a much better chance of promotion as they prepare to travel to Swansea.
Wilder’s success has inevitably seen him linked with the vacant job at Huddersfield but he told a press conference this week: “I want to take Sheffield United to the Premier League.”
Wilder will hope to name an unchanged team for the game, with striker David McGoldrick bidding to score for the fifth successive league game.
But the Blades must deal with the threat posed by Swansea’s leading scorer Oli McBurnie, who is fit to return after missing his side’s last two games due to illness.
With West Brom not playing until Monday, Tony Pulis and Middlesbrough could take advantage and move up to fourth place in the table with a win over struggling Millwall.
Pulis has no fresh injury concerns for the Riverside Stadium clash, while the Lions must cope without striker Tom Elliott, who has been ruled out for six weeks.
Derby boss Frank Lampard has vowed to make changes for his side’s clash with Reading following the gruelling midweek FA Cup win over Southampton, with Andre Wisdom and Max Lowell among those set to return.
Resurgent Hull have Fraizer Campbell back in contention as they look to claim their seventh straight league win away to Aston Villa, who are reeling after last week’s 3-0 loss at Wigan.
At the bottom, Ipswich boss Paul Lambert hopes an open letter he sent to the club’s fans this week will boost their chances of a great escape as they prepare to travel to his former club Blackburn.
With second-bottom Bolton not playing until Monday, fellow strugglers Rotherham hope to take advantage at home to Brenfford, while QPR and Sheffield Wednesday face Preston and Wigan respectively.