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Summary

  1. Attacks on women 'may be linked'
  2. Nurses face redundancy as £8m private care deal scrapped
  3. Driver had to be cut free after two lorry crash
  4. Armour, paintball guns and cash stolen in break-in
  5. Updates from Friday 16 December

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe accident, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J15 for A500.

M6 Cheshire - Slow traffic and one lane blocked on M6 southbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), because of an accident.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe accident, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J15 for A500.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M6 southbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), because of an accident.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Severe accident: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC Travel

M6 Staffordshire southbound severe accident, between J13 for A449 and J12 for A5 affecting J14 for A34.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M6 southbound between J13, A449 (Stafford South) and J12, A5 (Gailey), because of an accident earlier on and barrier repairs. Congestion to J14, A34 (Stafford North).

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Severe accident: A50 Staffordshire both ways

BBC Travel

A50 Staffordshire both ways severe accident, near Chatterley Street.

A50 Staffordshire - A50 Scotia Road in Burslem, Stoke On Trent closed near the Chatterley Street junction, because of an accident.

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Boris Becker

BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson takes on tennis legend Boris Becker in the weekend Premier League fixtures.

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Severe disruption: A34 Staffordshire both ways

BBC Travel

A34 Staffordshire both ways severe disruption, between A525 Pooldam and A53 Blackfriars Road.

A34 Staffordshire - A34 Lower Street in Newcastle-Under-Lyme closed in both directions between the A525 Pooldam junction and the A53 Blackfriars Road junction, because of a police incident.

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Football

Cambridge move into the League Two play-off places for the first time this season by beating Crewe.

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Leicester

Chris Osborne

BBC Sport

Leicester City recover from Jamie Vardy's red card and a two-goal deficit to claim an incredible draw at Stoke.

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Football

Dominic Poleon grabs his 12th goal of the season as AFC Wimbledon thump Port Vale to earn their first win in four games.

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Stoke City 2-2 Leicester City City: Claudio Ranieri hails 'fantastic spirit' from Foxes
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri says his side showed a "fantastic spirit" as the champions recover from Jamie Vardy's red card and a two-goal deficit to claim an incredible 2-2 draw at Stoke.
Stoke City 2-2 Leicester City: Result should've been done and dusted - Mark Hughes
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says the win for his side should have been "done and dusted" as they let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against 10-man Leicester City.

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire both ways

BBC Travel

M6 Staffordshire both ways severe disruption, at J15 for A500.

M6 Staffordshire - M6 lane closed on exit slip road and queuing traffic at J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), because of a broken down vehicle.

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Dwight Gayle and Mo Diame celebrate

Dwight Gayle and Mo Diame are on target as ruthless Newcastle beat Burton to ensure they top the Championship at Christmas.

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After Stoke's match against Burnley

Football fans are warned against walking on the slip road of a dual carriageway at Stoke City games.

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As it stands table

It's tighter than Santa's red suit...

table
BBC Sport

Stoke 1-0 Leicester

65% possession, 1-0 up, against 10 men.

Stoke may feel they can bag a few here today against champions Leicester...

Stoke
Opta

Team news

Stoke v Leicester (15:00 GMT)

Mark Hughes has made three changes to the Stoke side that lost to Arsenal.

Marko Arnautovic is suspended, while Charlie Adam and Xherdan Shaqiri drop to the bench.

In come Mame Diouf, Giannelli Imblua and Bojan Krkic.

Stoke XI: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Diouf, Whelan, Imbula, Pieters, Allen, Bojan, Walters.

Subs: Given, Bony, Adam, Shaqiri, Crouch, Ramadan, Ngoy.

Stoke
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The big news for Leicester City is the return of keeper Kasper Schmeichel, who has been out with a broken hand since early November.

Claudio Ranieri's only other change is bringing in Danny Simpson for Luis Hernandez.

Leicester XI: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez, King, Amartey, Albrighton, Slimani, Vardy

Subs: Zieler, Chilwell, Musa, Okazaki, Gray, Ulloa, Mendy.   

Leicester
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Severe disruption: M42 Warwickshire northbound

BBC Travel

M42 Warwickshire northbound severe disruption, between J10 for A5 and J11 for A42.

M42 Warwickshire - One lane closed and very slow traffic on M42 northbound between J10, A5 (Tamworth) and J11, A42 (Burton-Upon-Trent), because of debris on the road.

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Hectic Christmas excites Sparky

Stoke City v Leicester City (15:00 GMT)

Stoke City

No festive cheer down at Stoke - Mark Hughes is having his boys in for training on Christmas Day. However, he insists he is a fan of the festive period. 

"I enjoy it - we are quite a unique country that we play over this period, but that is a tradition of British football," he said.

"A few of the lads come here and scratch their heads wondering what is going on, but they soon buy into it. I loved it as a player and I love it as a manager too. There is always a really good atmosphere around the stadiums, and hopefully we can bring a bit of cheer to our supporters."

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Rex Features

'First away win for Leicester'

Stoke v Leicester City (15:00 GMT)

Mark Lawrenson

Former Liverpool defender

Leicester have picked up only one point in eight games on the road this season but I don't believe they can continue to be as bad as they have been away from home.

Stoke are a solid mid-table side but, as daft as this seems, I fancy Leicester here. I backed them to beat Manchester City last weekend, and I am going to back them again.

Severe accident: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC Travel

M6 Staffordshire southbound severe accident, between J15 for A500 and J14 for A34.

M6 Staffordshire - Heavy traffic on M6 southbound between J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent) and J14, A34 (Stafford North), because of an accident.

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Which Leicester will turn up?

Stoke v Leicester (15:00 GMT)

Alistair Mann

MOTD commentator

If 'last season's' Leicester returned against Manchester City, then this season's Leicester were back three days later at Bournemouth.

There was no indication that a corner had been turned as the champions continued their miserable away form with their seventh defeat in eight league games; they've already conceded more goals on their travels than they did throughout their title-winning campaign.

A trip to Stoke is hardly the easiest assignment in their quest for a first away victory as defending champions. After a disheartening seven-game winless run at the start of the season, Mark Hughes' side have picked up 17 points from their subsequent nine matches.

They'll feel this weekend offers them an ideal opportunity to end their 36-year wait for a top-flight home win against the Foxes.

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Getty Images

Stoke v Leicester (15:00 GMT)

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Will Glen Johnson put that stat straight today?

Schmeichel returning?

Stoke v Leicester (15:00 GMT)

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Rex Features

Kasper Schmeichel has been out for six weeks with a broken hand.

Leicester have won just two of their eight league and cup games since.

Schmeichel started all 38 games as Leicester won the 2015-16 Premier League title.

Woman holding shopping bags in a Christmassy high street

Jennifer Meierhans

BBC News Online

With less than a week to go until Christmas many of us will be panic-buying gifts. Here are some tips to make it less stressful.

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Civic Centre 4 tower

All week you have been using Your Questions to ask about the West Midlands. Here are some of our answers.

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Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Monday but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening.

Football: Burton ready for big game tomorrow

Owen Bradley

BBC Radio Derby Sport

Nigel Clough say's tomorrow's meeting with Championship leaders Newcastle is yet another sign of how far Burton Albion have come. 

A sell-out is expected as 7,000 fans head to the Pirelli Stadium. Compare that to the 52,000 that can squeeze in to Newcastle's St James' Park. 

Burton Albion
Getty Images

On Midlands Today from 18:30: City prison disturbance

Nicola Beckford

Reporter, BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this evening we'll have the latest on a disturbance at HMP Birmingham. 

Emergency vehicles outside prison
PA

Trouble flared earlier today and has spread to four wings of the prison. 

We'll have the latest from 18:30 on BBC One.

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire southbound

BBC Travel

M6 Staffordshire southbound severe disruption, at J11A for M6 Toll.

M6 Staffordshire - One lane blocked and heavy traffic on M6 southbound at J11a M6 Toll, because of a broken down vehicle.

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Football: Crewe look to cut out 'silly mistakes' in Cambridge game

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Crewe Alexandra defender Jon Guthrie says his team need to cut out mistakes after their loss to Crawley last week.

Jon Guthrie
crewealex.net

The team have been in a full week of training ahead of their visit to Cambridge United this weekend. 

It's about just cutting out those silly mistakes, it's happening too frequently all over the pitch. It's knowing in yourself that you're obviously capable of doing it, it's just about putting it into practice now."

Jon GuthrieCrewe Alexandra player

'Record field' sells out for half marathon

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

All 4,000 places in next year's Stafford Half Marathon have been snapped up in "record time". 

Runners on start line this year
BBC

The borough council says entries opened on 1 November and the last place has now been sold. 

They say 2017 will also be a record field as there will be 4,000 runners on 19 March, up from 3,500 this year.

Nurses face redundancy as £8m private care deal scrapped

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Dozens of nurses could face redundancy this Christmas as an £8m pilot scheme to treat patients in their homes is scrapped. 

The three-year-deal between the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and private contractor Healthcare at Home ends next month. 

Royal Stoke hospital
BBC

Hospital bosses say changes to discharge procedures mean it is no longer needed.

The firm says it's consulting with the 32 staff to explore redeployment roles while the Royal Stoke University Hospital has expressed an interest in recruiting the nurses. 

Your pictures: 'Over-the-top' Christmas lights

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Jonathan White's been in touch with this photo he took in Crewe, saying he enjoys seeing the, in his words, "over-the-top Christmas lights and decorations" which people put up.

Christmas lights on Crewe's Davenport Avenue
Jonathan White

While Lee Millward was clearly playing around with lenses to get this super late evening picture in Knypersley, Staffordshire.

Keep sending in your pictures of both counties - you can do that with an email or put them on Instagram, adding the tag #bbcstoke so I can see you've agreed to share it.

Knypersley
Lee Millward

Football: Stoke 'not going to be held to ransom' over goalkeeper deal

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has told BBC Radio Stoke today that they won't be "held to ransom" over trying to seal a deal for the Derby County goalkeeper Lee Grant. 

Lee Grant
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The 33-year-old has kept five clean sheets since he came into the side at the end of September. 

However, it seems that his parent club are playing hardball over a permanent transfer to the Potteries. 

We would like to get something done, but they are asking for too much money at the moment. We have a fee we feel he is worth - a market value, and we aren't going to be held to ransom. If it doesn't change soon then we will have to look at other options."

Mark HughesStoke City manager

Crematorium toilets in £30k revamp

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Toilets at Stafford Crematorium
Stafford Borough Council

Toilets at Stafford Crematorium have been overhauled at a cost of £30,000.

The borough council says the external block at Tixall Road has been given a "fresh new look" and layout.

Football: Port Vale uncertain on striker's future after Rowett sacking

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale's assistant manager Michael Brown says Gary Rowett's departure from Birmingham City could have an impact on whether Alex Jones can extend his stay at Vale Park. 

Alex Jones of Port Vale in action
Pete Norton/Getty Images

Rowett was sacked yesterday and replaced by Gianfranco Zola.

Striker Jones is currently on loan from Birmingham until next month.

For the new manager, will he want to look at Jones, will it make it easier or harder to extend his stay? Only time will tell on that one."

Michael BrownPort Vale's assistant manager

Headlines: Women attacks 'could be linked'; nurses face redundancy; driver cut free after lorries crash

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Let's have a last look at the headlines for today and these are our top stories:

- Attacks on two women in Biddulph could be linked, police say

- Dozens of nurses could face redundancy this Christmas as an £8m pilot scheme to treat patients in their homes is scrapped  

- A lorry driver suffered serious arm and leg injuries in a crash with a second lorry near Stafford this morning

BreakingArgos drivers accept deal to end Christmas strike threat

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Argos
Reuters

The threat of a strike by drivers who deliver goods for high street giant Argos has ended after they accepted a deal to resolve a pay dispute.

Members of Unite employed by Wincanton, based at a distribution centre near Burton, voted by an overwhelming majority to accept the deal. 

They had previously backed a motion to strike for three days from 20 December.

With 95% of drivers supporting the offer, it is pleasing for all concerned that this dispute is now fully concluded and our members are working normally."

Rick CoyleUnite regional officer