Meet the opposition | Stoke City
As Swansea City prepare to take on Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium, we take a closer look at the men from the Potteries.
What's their story?
After a 10-year stint in the Premier League, Stoke are getting used to life in the Championship once more after suffering relegation from the top-flight alongside the Swans in 2018.
Earning promotion under Tony Pulis in 2008, the Potters had returned to the top division where they had not featured since 1985.
An FA Cup final appearance in 2011 led to a Europa League campaign for the Potters, whilst three successive ninth-place finishes were their best performances in the top-flight.
A 1972 League Cup victory brought them their only piece of major silverware, but their attempts to return to the Premier League have not matched expectations after keeping together what looks a strong squad on paper.
How’s their form?
Poor. The Potters had taken just two points from a possible 30 at the start of the season and are languishing at the foot of the Championship table.
Indeed, Stoke have won just three league fixtures in 2019 and are currently on a run of 16 matches without victory have last tasted victory at Blackburn in April.
Their last win on home turf in the league came in March. These are tough times for the Potters.
Who’s the boss?
Nathan Jones. A former player who spent the majority of his career at Brighton and Yeovil, Jones also featured for Numancia, Southend and Scarborough before hanging up his boots.
Taking over League Two side Luton Town in 2016, after a stint as assistant manager and caretaker boss at Brighton, the Welshman guided the club away from relegation, winning 11 of the 21 matches remaining in the season to help the club to an 11th placed finish.
Jones left Luton with the highest Football League points per game ratio of any manager in their history, having led them to the League Two play-offs in 2017 and promotion a year later.
He had the Hatters in contention for promotion to the Championship when Stoke snapped up the 45-year-old after parting ways with Gary Rowett in the early stages of 2019,
But his start to life at the bet365 Stadium has been a challenging one and he has found himself firmly in the spotlight after a difficult, winless start to the new campaign.
Who are the key men?
Despite their plight, there is no shortage of experience or ability in the Stoke squad.
They have former Swans Joe Allen, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Sam Clucas in their squad, while the likes of Jack Butland, Sam Vokes, James McClean, Tom Ince and Bruno Martins-Indi also have stints in the top-flight under their respective belts.
They brought in Lee Gregory and Nick Powell from Championship rivals Millwall and Wigan over the summer to aid them in the attacking third, but it is Wales striker Vokes who has been their greatest threat with three goals to his name.