This is one for the football purists, this is. For the first time in history, Stevenage Football Club and Stoke City Football Club are to go head-to-head. The same pitch. At the same time. It’s Boro’s reward for their heroics at Ipswich Town in the first round of the hitherto unsponsored English Football League Cup. And, not for the first time in recent seasons, beating the Tractor Boys has put us very much in the line of sight of a side from the top table. The FA Carling Premier League Ship. It’s even more prestigious than playing Luton, would you believe!
It’s the second time in as many seasons that the Potters have started their League Cup adventure in Three Counties territory. Last term at this stage of the competition, Stoke were mandated to pay a visit to the lower leagues’ Theatre of Dreams. Yes. Kenilworth Road. In the end, it required an epic pelanty shoot-out to separate the Staffordshire wheat from the Bedfordshire chaff. OK, so the Hatters struck lucky with a last gasp equaliser to get to extra time (better than being on the receiving end of a late goal, eh Luton?) but could we do similar?
Stevenage v Stoke City:
Stoke have, say The Comet, pledged to bring a strong squad to see off the Boro’ threat. It may feature Xherdan Shaqiri, although that depends if he has shaken off an ankle knock. The Potters come to the Lamex off the back of a 4-1 home hammering by Manchester City. It’s going to disappoint some of you to learn that we’re not quite comparable to the Citizens, but Stoke shall be a bit wary of what they’re getting themselves in for. If the big guns do indeed feature in the Stoke starting 11, we can only guess that they are keen to avoid a cupset.
Of course, the last time we accounted for Ipswich Town in the League Cup earned us a trip to Goodison Park. That match nearly went the distance, but for a pretty rubbish James Dunne clearance that – for all intents and purposes – set up the extra time winner for Everton. More often than not, Premier League clubs don’t need that kind of helping hand from their lower league opponents. So, if we could avoid that sort of thing against Stoke it’d be a helpful start. After that, well, we can take it from there and see what happens – can’t we?
BoroGuide’s Stoke City club profile – just to ‘stoke’ the flames, y’know…