Stoke: Pato heads up Claret new boys
With the opening game of the season just five days away, the visit of newly promoted Burnley to the Brit rekindles some memories of this time last year.
Burnley have, not surprisingly, sold out the visitors' area for the match on Saturday amid great excitement in the claret and blue area of Lancashire. It's brought back memories of this time last year when thousands of us Stokies queued for six hours or more for tickets one hot Saturday in July for the opener at the Reebok. It was a shame that the game didn't live up to the dream as we don't need reminding that the Potters went down 3-1 as a youthful back line capitulated in a mad 20 minute spell against Bolton Wanderers. The only consolation came in the familiar shape of Ric Fuller who at least gave us something to cheer about with minutes remaining.
In a twist of fate, it's the Potters now entertaining the new boys at the Brit with Burnley having enjoyed the summer celebrating their first taste of the big time since 1976. It'll also be a return to the Brit for former Stokie, Martin Paterson who was instrumental in firing the Clarets into the top flight with a great goal against Reading in the play-off semi-finals. The local lad will no doubt be relishing the chance but has had a poor pre-season after a hamstring injury sidelined him until their last friendly against St Johnstone when he managed an hour, but it's said that he's likely to play on Saturday.
This time around let's hope that we can bring Burnley back down to earth with a good win for the Potters - after all it didn't do us any harm in the long run, did it?