Fresh from thrashing Rotherham United 6-1 in the EFL Cup, Stoke City return to Championship action with a home fixture against Preston North End on Saturday.
- Stoke have won four of their six matches across all competitions in 2023-24
- The Potters average 2.2 goals per game this season
- Preston head into Saturday’s clash on a three-match winning streak
Fifth-placed Preston lead tenth-placed Stoke by four points in the Championship table ahead of Matchday 5. While the Lilywhites remain unbeaten in the league this term, the Potters have recorded two wins and two losses.
Stoke City Form
It’s safe to say that Rotherham will be sick of the sight of Stoke. On the opening weekend of the season, Alex Neil’s men thrashed the Millers 4-1. On Tuesday, the Potters crushed Rotherham 6-1 in the EFL Cup, with Josh Laurent bagging a brace.
That said, Stoke have made an indifferent start to their league campaign, taking six points from a possible 12. Having failed to score in defeats to Ipswich Town and Millwall, Neil will be eager to establish some consistency in the coming weeks.
Preston North End Form
Meanwhile, Preston endured a disappointing start to the season, drawing 1-1 with Bristol City before suffering penalty heartache against Salford City in the EFL Cup. Since then, however, Ryan Lowe’s side have secured three straight wins.
Following a 2-1 victory over Sunderland, the Lilywhites claimed a 1-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday before defeating Swansea City 2-1 last time out. As a result, PNE find themselves fifth in the Championship standings – two points shy of table-topping Leicester City
Not only have Stoke managed to win one of their last five meetings with Preston, but they have also registered just two victories in their previous 11 encounters.
Stoke City’s injury list contains former Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker and 17-year-old forward Emre Tezgel. Following a 6-1 thrashing of Rotherham in the EFL Cup, Neil will likely ring the changes this weekend.
As for Preston, they are still without long-term injury absentees Ched Evans and Emil Riis, while Benjamin Whiteman is also expected to miss Saturday’s clash.
Andre Vidigal has already scored four goals in five games since joining Stoke from Portuguese side Maritimo, while Josh Laurent has chipped in with two goals and two assists from midfield.
On the flip side, Duan Holmes has bagged two goals and two assists for Preston this season, with Will Keane and Mads Frokjaer-Jensen also contributing multiple attacking returns.
Having put six past Rotherham in midweek, Stoke will be full of confidence right now. However, the Potters won’t find life easy on Saturday, as Preston have won each of their previous three matches to remain unbeaten in the league this term.