Meet the opposition | Stoke City

9th April
First team
Stoke City

As Swansea City get set to face Stoke City, we take a closer look at the Potters.


Stoke City is the oldest professional Football League club, having initially been founded in 1863 as Stoke Ramblers. The team was originally mainly made up of local railway workers.

They became Stoke Football Club in 1878, before becoming Stoke City in 1920.

The club's first, and to date only, major trophy was won in 1972, when they beat Chelsea to win the League Cup.

The Potters have won the Football League Trophy on two occasions, first in 1992 and most recently in 2000.

After a successful run under Tony Pulis that led the Potters to the Premier League and the FA Cup Final, they are now in a sixth season back in the Championship following relegation in 2018.



Inconsistent. The Potters have won four of their last 10 Championship fixtures, but have also lost four games during that sequence.

Four points from games against Hull City and Huddersfield Town over the Easter weekend gave them valuable breathing space at the foot of the table, and they have won their last two away fixtures.

The Potters added another valuable point to their tally with a draw against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.



Steven Schumacher Stoke

Steven Schumacher. The 39-year-old has been with Stoke since succeeding Alex Neil in December.

Prior to that, he had been with Plymouth Argyle since 2019, and took over the reins in 2021 after Ryan Lowe departed to take charge of Preston.

Schumacher led the Pilgrims to within sight of the play-offs at the end of that season, only for a defeat on the last day of the season to see them drop out.

However, they responded in excellent fashion last season, proving the dominant team in League One as they stormed to the title.

As a player, the former midfielder came through the academy ranks at Everton, playing in the Toffees' FA Youth Cup winning side alongside Wayne Rooney.

He had loan spells with Carlisle and Oldham, before leaving Goodison Park for Bradford in 2004.

Stints with Crewe Alexandra, Bury, Fleetwood, Stevenage and Southport followed before Schumacher moved into coaching having had a brief spell in caretaker charge of Southport.

He had a coaching role at Everton before linking up with Lowe at Bury, and then following him to Plymouth.



Josh Laurent

Josh Laurent. The midfielder joined the Potters from Reading in the summer of 2022 and, following an excellent first season at the club, was handed the captain's armband in the summer.

A driving presence in the heart of midfield, Laurent also has an eye for goal in the final third and his scored twice and registered two assists this season.

Having been on the books with Chelsea, Wycome Wanderers and Queens Park Rangers at youth level, Laurent went on to have stints with Braintree (loan), Brentford, Newport County (loan), Hartlepool United, Wigan Athletic, Bury (loan) and Shrewsbury before his move to Berkshire with Reading.

He featured prominently in a Royals side that challenge for the play-offs in his first season at the club, and he moved to Stoke when his contract expired last summer.



Ki-jana Hoever

Ki-Jana Hoever is on loan at the bet365 Stadium from Premier League Wolves and has enjoyed a fine season despite Stoke's struggles, and has three goals and two assists this term.

The 22-year-old, who can play at centre-back or full-back, emerged at AZ Alkmaar and Ajax before joining Liverpool's academy in 2018.

He made four first-team appearances for the Reds, scoring in a Carabao Cup win at MK Dons, before making the switch to Wolves in 2020.

He made his full Premier League debut against Manchester United later that year and had a loan stint with PSV.

Hoever spent the second half of last term with Stoke, and returned for the full 2023-24 campaign.

Midfielder Wouter Burger joined Stoke from Swiss club Basel in the summer and has three goals and four assists to his name.

The Dutchman came through the youth systems at Excelsior and Feyenoord , and made his senior breakthrough for the latter, and helped them win the Johan Cruyff Shield.

He would have loan spells with Excelsior and Sparta Rotterdam before a permanent move to Basel in 2021, featuring extensively in the Swiss top-flight and the Europa Conference League.

At international level he has been capped at youth level by the Netherlands, and helped them win the European Under-17 Championship in 2018, and featured for the under-21s in their own Euro finals last summer.

Defender Luke McNally has been another player to impress during a challenging campaign for the Potters.

The Irishman is on Burnley's books, and enjoyed a strong second half to last term on loan at Coventry City, helping them reach the play-off final where they lost to Luton Town.

McNally started his career in his homeland with St Patrick's Athletic and Drogheda United, before making the move to England with Oxford United in January 2021.

He quickly caught the eye and became Vincent Kompany's second signing as Burnley boss when he moved to Turf Moor in the summer of 2022.