I am beyond nervous about Stoke City but this is why we'll stay up just

Steven Schumacher is tasked with guiding Stoke City to safety in the Championship.
Steven Schumacher is tasked with guiding Stoke City to safety in the Championship. -Credit:George Wood/Getty Images

Stoke City head into a crucial match against Plymouth Argyle to kick off a vital final fortnight that will decide their fate in the Championship. The Potters are three points above the relegation zone in a cramped bottom half of the table and no one can be quite sure what happens next - but that won't stop everyone asking.

On our fans' panel this week to discuss the line up against Argyle and whether Stoke can or will stay up are LIAM HALL, from Dresden; NICK HERBERT, from Shrewsbury; and SIMON MARSON, from Stone. If you would like to join the panel, email peter.smith01@reachplc.com

How should Stoke line up vs Plymouth?

Liam Hall: Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday were must-not-lose games so I could understand a more cautious approach, even if I don't necessarily agree. However the Plymouth game, while not being a disaster if we lose (depending on results elsewhere), it's also a great opportunity to all-but secure our safety and I really wouldn't want to leave it to the last two games of the season given Saints' form and our diabolical record at home to Bristol City. It's 0-0-5 since relegation. We need a fast start, get a big crowd onside and quieten a large away following. So 4-3-3 Iversen, Hoever, McNally, Rose, Stevens, Thompson, Burger, Baker, Manhoef, Campbell, Bae.

Nick Herbert: I think we've got to go all out to win this. Yes we've shown great character getting back into three of the last four games, but I'd prefer us not to keep falling behind and no matter who plays we always look capable of leaking a goal no matter how much on top we are.

I'd rather see us playing to win and it maybe not happening than playing not to lose, defending for our lives, and then conceding. With this in mind I think Campbell deserves another run out and I would bring Hoever back in as he at least has the odd goal in him. I would also play Bae Junho from the start this time, but agree he looked leggy at Swansea. I think Leris needs to play around Campbell as he can at least win some knock-ons, which Campbell won't even challenge for.

Simon Marson: My line-up for Plymouth would be; Iverson, Hoever, Rose, McNally, Stevens, Burger, Thompson, Laurent, Manhoef, Campbell, Junho.

The back four picks itself - and we need to play a back four particularly at home. Hoever will be crucial, he is one of most creative players and his partnership with Manhoef has looked promising.

Burger's form has been patchy recently to say the least but ultimately he is probably our best footballer so has to play in a game like this.

We are a better side with Thompson in it and he is criminally underrated, we need to be solid as well as having a go and his role will be massive, it also allows Laurent to push on a bit where he is best. Laurent further forward give us a physical presence as well.

Campbell has to play, I don't particularly rate him but the truth is he is most likely to get us a goal out of the current options, Junho and Manhoef to support him. We have to get Junho on the ball as much as possible especially early on. We need to get our noses in front. Baker, Ennis and Haks will come on to play a big part at some point I imagine, dependant on the score.

READ MORE: Tyrese Campbell a 'needed' man as Stoke head into do-or-die run-in

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What gives you the most optimism that Stoke will survive? And most dread that they won't?

Liam Hall: We've still got that three and four point cushion and it's still in our hands. Granted that could be all change come 5pm on Saturday but while it's there, I'll remain optimistic of survival. The one nagging bit of doubt I have is that we are prone to losing runs and if we lose on Saturday to Plymouth with the faux rivalry their fans have created I worry that Saints, who could be chasing an unlikely title win, and our perennial bogey side Bristol City could see us finish the season with three defeats in a row and likely relegated. I'd probably be more optimistic if we had two aways and one home left due to our terrible form at home!

Nick Herbert: I believe the appointment of Jon Walters was better than any signing. He has managed to galvanise the club without mentioning KPIs once to the fanbase. I genuinely don't think the fans would have been quiet as on board as they currently are, but Jon seems to be the glue holding everything together calmly and really supportive of the manager and team.

And most dread that they won't? There have been a lot of similarities this season to our last in the Premier League. Good players that can't play as a team, some terrible finishing, bad luck with some refereeing decisions, woeful defending. However, rather than the managerial appointments that took us down then, this time I do genuinely believe Schumacher is the right man to restore some pride in the club. I look at the fixtures though and there is no guarantee the top teams are going to beat the bottom ones so we have to make sure we do the job ourselves and not rely on others

Simon Marson: I'm struggling for optimism at the moment although I do think we will beat Plymouth. It always feels like one step forward, two back. The two home games give me belief we will stay up, despite how poor we have been for a number of years they will get the backing from us and hopefully that will be enough to get us over the line. There is no better City than us when our backs are against the wall, us versus the world, we need that on Saturday. Super Jon Walters was spot on about the area and the support in the recent call to arms.

I do believe in Junho, Manhoef and Burger we have three players with the ability to get us out of this mess.

Our inability to keep clean sheets is a massive worry and in particular when you don't score enough like us, Plymouth will be bang up for this game given the new-found rivalry and I must admit I'm beyond nervous about it. Have we got the players with the correct mentality to deal with these games? I'm not sure.

Will Stoke stay up?

Liam Hall: Yes, we'll win on Saturday and I think that will be enough regardless of what we do in the two final games. As long as Schuey plays a side with Million and Bae in it, I'm confident we'll have enough to beat Plymouth. Although in classic Stoke fashion, we'll probably lose to Plymouth and win at St Mary's.

Nick Herbert: I'm sticking my neck out and saying YESSSS.

A win on Saturday, other results going our way and we should be clear even if not mathematically. Huddersfield still to play Birmingham at home should put a few nails in one of their coffins.

Simon Marson: I can see us getting four points from these three games and we will make it, Just.

Who do you agree or disagree with? Have your say in the comments section