Meet the opposition | Stoke City

26th October
First team
Steven Fletcher

With Swansea City set to face Stoke City at the Liberty on Tuesday night, we take a closer look at the Potters.

What's their story?

After a 10-year stint in the Premier League, Stoke are now in their third season back in the Championship after suffering relegation from the top-flight alongside the Swans in 2018.

Tony Pulis guided them to an FA Cup final appearance in 2011, which led to a Europa League campaign, before Mark Hughes oversaw three successive ninth-place finishes 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?

Tyrese Campbell

Despite a sluggish start to the Championship season, Stoke headed into the international break with plenty of momentum on their side.

After failing to score in their opening two league games, the Potters embarked on a four-match unbeaten run, while overcoming Wolves and Aston Villa on their way to reaching the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

They have since beaten Luton and drawn with Barnsley and will be looking to maintain their impressive recent record against the Swans, which has brought them five wins in the last six meetings between the sides.

Who's the boss?

Michael O'Neill

The former Northern Ireland boss is embarking on his first full season in charge of Stoke, having steered them clear of danger to a 15th-place finish last term.

Ex-midfielder O’Neill turned out for 13 different clubs during his playing days, before beginning his managerial career with Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers.

Then followed his nine-year stint with Northern Ireland, who he led to the European Championship finals for the first time in 2016.

Who's the captain?

Shawcross misses out today as he continues to recover from the ongoing injury problems that limited him to just five appearances last season.

Captain at the bet365 Stadium for the past decade, the defender is now in his 14th season with the Potters, for whom he has racked up 450 appearances in all competitions.

The 33-year-old began his career at Manchester United, but made just two senior appearances at Old Trafford.

Who are the key men?

John Obi Mikel

The Potters added to their attacking quality in the summer by signing the experienced Steven Fletcher, who joins forces with the likes of Tyrese Campbell, James McClean and Sam Vokes.

They also strengthened in the middle of the park with the arrival of two-time Premier League title winner John Obi Mikel, while Wales international James Chester came in to bolster the defence.

In goal, Adam Davies has made the number-one jersey his own after deputising for the injured Jack Butland towards the end of last term.

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