Assistant manager Dave Kemp is anticipating a stiff test at Ewood Park as Stoke aim to build on one of the greatest years in their history with a winning start to 2012.

The Potters reached their maiden FA Cup final in 2011, which in turn led to a first European campaign in almost four decades. A mouthwatering last-32 tie against Valencia awaits when the Europa League resumes in February but first Stoke must seek to consolidate their top-half place in the league.

And while Monday's opponents Blackburn are currently entrenched in the relegation zone, Steve Kean's men will begin the new year on a high following their stunning 3-2 victory over Manchester United on Saturday. Ahead of Stoke's journey to Lancashire, Kemp said: "It was always going to be a tough game, as they all are, and it will obviously boost their confidence."

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