Stoke City could be without as many as six first team players when they host struggling Hull City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

City head to the Potteries looking for a first victory since the opening day of the season against a side yet to suffer defeat in front of their own spectators this term.

The hosts will be unable to call upon influential midfielder Joe Allen after he picked up a knock in a recent draw with City’s Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, while veteran striker Steven Fletcher, Tyrese Campbell and Morgan Fox have all been ruled out by Michael O’Neill, the Potters Northern Irish boss.

There’s also a doubt surrounding forward Abdallah Sima and Alfie Doughty may not be risked against Grant McCann’s Tigers.

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O’Neill could call upon ex-Tiger Tom Ince who scored in last weekend’s defeat at Derby County, or former City favourite James Chester who impressed in the midweek Carabao Cup win at Watford.

"There is a chance. He’s been out on the grass today and we’ll see how he is. He’ll go out on the grass again tomorrow but we were a little bit optimistic for tomorrow earlier in the week and just felt he still had some pain. We had to step him back a little bit,” O’Neill told Stoke-on-Trent Live of Allen’s expected absence.

"We’ll see how he does in the next 48 hours. There’s always a chance but Joe’s the kind of lad who is desperate to play all the time, which is brilliant for us, but it’s a niggly type of injury and we don’t want it to prolong any longer than necessary.

“Fox will still be out for a while, Campbell will play again (for the Under-23s). He played on Monday for just over 80 minutes at Newcastle and scored, so that was good. We still think he needs another game or two based on what we’re seeing.

"He can play here on Monday against Aston Villa then we’ll see where he is. Oakley-Boothe will play in that game too.

"Fletcher is still struggling and we have a doubt about Sima, who had a heavy challenge in the Derby game, had a bit of a sore ankle coming into the Watford game and had a bit of a reaction to that in training yesterday.

"And Joe Allen too, he’s not available at this minute in time.

"Alfie Doughty is ok. He just aggravated that, I think it was a bit of fatigue as well. He missed training yesterday but trained today.

"The squad is being stretched a bit, we’re probably five or six players down, but equally I think the team which will take to the pitch tomorrow will be more than strong enough to give us the performance and hopefully the result."

On facing third-bottom City, O'Neill expects McCann's strugglers to have a go and knows if his side underestimate the challenge, they'll come unstuck.

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Will Hull City's winless run end at Stoke?

"Yes, Grant’s a young coach that likes his team to play. He was that type of player himself so I fully expect that.

"They do have the ability if they need to go that little bit long. Josh Magennis is obviously a striker I know well. But we expect Hull to come and play.

"It’s early in the season still even if you want to get momentum and results as quickly as possible.

"We have been dominant in games this season but with that dominance you have to create and take chances. Ultimately you have to win games. After a disappointing result against Derby we have a chance to address that.

"It’s like any game in the Championship, if you treat it likely you’ll have problems. We’re certainly not going to do that."