A new manager at the helm and a raft of players expected to move on, it will be all change at Stoke City when the new Championship season kicks-off in seven weeks time.
STOKE CITY'S 2017/18 SEASON
League Position: 19th in Premier League (Relegated)
Average league attendance: 29,280
Top league goal-scorer: Xherdan Shaqiri (8)
A ten year stay in the top tier came to an end for Stoke City last term after a turbulent campaign at the bet365 Stadium.
Victory over Arsenal and a draw at home to Manchester United in August suggested that The Potters would once more prove to be difficult Premier League opponents but defensively frailties quickly emerged.
Mark Hughes side conceded 42 goals in their next 17 league games up to the New Year, with a FA Cup Third Round defeat to Coventry City signalling the end of Hughes four-and-a-half year tenure in The Potteries.
Paul Lambert was tasked with ensuring top flight survival and began promisingly with a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town. However, that win on the 20th January proved to be Stoke's only win in Lambert's first 14 games which saw relegation confirmed in early May.
Miles from Brentford: 163
Address: Stanley Matthews Way, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 4EG
Gary Rowett is the man tasked with returning The Potters to the top flight after swapping Derby County for Stoke earlier this summer. His 16-year player career saw him make appearances for Everton, Derby County, Leicester City and Cambridge United before he stepped into management with Burton Albion.
Rowett took Burton to the Sky Bet League Two Play-Offs in both of his first two full seasons with The Brewers. He then moved to St Andrew's to rescue The Blues from relegation in the 2014/15 season. Coming in with them in the bottom four places in the league, he took them to tenth before repeating that finish a year later. Last season he led Derby to the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off semi-finals before they were beaten by Fulham.
THE KEY MAN
Benik Afobe: 2017/18 38 appearances, 7 goals
11 days after joining Wolverhampton Wanderers, Benik Afobe became a Stoke City player last week for a reported £10 million. With an expected exodus of high-profile players such as Xherdan Shaqiri, Gianelli Imbula, Jack Butland, the pressure will be on Afobe, who scored six goals in seven starts for Wolves last season, to provide the necessary firepower up front for The Potters.
Saturday 11 May 2002, Stoke City 2 Brentford 0, Millenium Stadium, Division Two Play-Off Final
HEAD TO HEAD
Brentford wins: 4
Stoke City wins: 12
2018/19 ODDS WITH LEO VEGAS SPORT UK*
Championship Winners: 6/1 Favourites
Promotion: 2/1 Favourites
*Odds correct at time of writing.
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