Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Monday August 25 2008
26th August 2008
A couple of weeks into the new season and it's time for every Stoke fans' favourite competition - the Carling Cup!
Traditionally the Potters know that a lower league club is now going to come along and dump us unceremoniously out of the only major competition we have ever won. The last seven years have only seen us progress through to the second round once (in 2003) but this year, with our elevated status, we are let off the embarrassment of first round elimination and will have to see if we can break all recent records and progress to the third round...
So it's time to come down from all the excitement of Saturday's win against Villa and pit our wits against Cheltenham Town from League 1.
Stoke's new celebrity manager, Tony Pulis spent Sunday doing the rounds of the TV studios and was enthusiastic about Stoke's team spirit which has been carried through from last season's heroics: 'There is such a terrific spirit about the place and among the players and that spirit will really help us go so far.'
David Bird (ankle) and Craig Armstrong (calf) both only have a 50% chance of being fit.
Midfielder Ben Gill is back after suspension, but the one player Potters fans would have known is on-loan Leicester striker Barry Hayles, but he will not play to avoid being cup-tied.
Midfielder, Ben Gill has had an eventful start to the season. He's yet to start a match, but he's already scored two goals and picked up a yellow and a red card. It was his extra time goal against Southend that clinched their place in the Carling Cup second round.
Stoke will very likely rest Ricardo Fuller, Liam Lawrence and new keeper, Thomas Sorensen after Saturday's exploits which will allow Steve Simonsen a start in goal. The Fayes may both start as they need some match fitness, although after Ab's good performance against Villa we wonder if that's really necessary.
We'd expect Big Mama to start up front after only playing the last few minutes on Saturday (remind me, did he score?!)
This is the first competitive match between the two clubs, but as always, the Potters will need to be on their guard as the Robins will be looking for a cup upset - and we all know how the Potters like to oblige.....
Sat August 30th: Middlesborough (away) kick-off: 3pm
Sun Sept 14th: Everton (home) kick-off: 1.30pm SKY TV
Sat Sept 20th: Liverpool (away) kick-off: 3pm
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Date:Monday August 25 2008
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