Bolton vs Stoke preview
16th August 2008
Stoke City's first ever match in the top flight of English football for 23 years and their first ever match in the Premier League takes place on Saturday at the Reebok Stadium against Bolton.
Whilst the match may not be billed as the most thrilling encounter on the day's fixture list, it will certainly be a moment of history for the 2,700 travelling Potters' fans, whatever the result.
Bolton ended the season on a good home run which ensured that they just missed relegation, but they are hotly tipped to be down at the bottom of the league (along with us) so this match should be an interesting early pointer to the rest of the season.
As a former Stoke manager and close friend of the current incumbent, Bolton boss, Gary Megson knows probably more about the Potters than any other Premier League manager. He will know that the Potters will take to the field on a high: 'I've been really surprised that people think it's just a case of turning up and we'll beat Stoke.
'That's not the case. Stoke will prove to everybody this season that they're a really difficult opponent.
'They come up with the momentum of being promoted, they've got some good players. Stoke are not a mug team.'
Bolton Team News:
Bolton have no pre-season niggles except for Icelandic striker Heidar Helguson who is sidelined with a hernia problem.
Player to watch: Danny Shittu
We should be able to cope with the likes of Danny Shittu who was signed from Watford during the summer to try and reduce last season's tally of 54 goals conceded by Wanderers
Stoke City Team News:
Stoke will be hoping that Liam Lawrence and Ricardo Fuller will both be fit for the start of the season after they've both spent a large part of pre-season recovering from injury. the Potters will have all four new signings (Sorensen, Kitson, Olofinjana and Amdy Faye) available for selection.
Player to watch: Dave Kitson
Stoke's record signing will make his league debut for the Potters and will hopefully be able to start alongside Ric Fuller
Match Facts & Stats
This is the Potters first visit to the Reebok Stadium
Sat 23rd August: Aston Villa (home) kick-off 3pm
Saturday 30th August: Middlesborough (away) kick-off: 3pm
Sun 14th September: Everton (home) kick-off 1.30pm - Sky TV