Stoke City's run in the Checkatrade Trophy could come to an end when they host Bury at the bet365 Stadium on Tuesday evening. The hosts have lost their previous two games and qualification into the next round relies on beating Bury by five or more goals, and Morecambe losing to group leaders Bradford.
The Potters were unlucky in the first game when Charlie Adam had a series of shots saved before going behind in the 38th minute, which was arguably against the run of play. Hodges’ side eventually went down to ten men after Lewis Banks was sent off, halting any chance of a Stoke comeback.
Charlie Adam did get on the scoresheet in the second group game when the under-23’s travelled to Morecambe but, after conceding an early goal and then being reduced to ten men after Liam Edwards was sent to the stands, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the young Potters who ended up losing 3-1.
First team involvement
However, it has been reported that first team players Bojan, Giannelli Imbula, Peter Crouch and Marc Muniesa could feature for Glyn Hodges’ side. Muniesa is no stranger to the competition having featured in the previous two matches.
This wealth of talent, alongside the star players in the under-23’s such as Thibaud Verlinden, a nominee for Premier League 2 Player of Month, Julien Ngoy, Joel Taylor, who was last years’ player of the season for the under-21’s, may be too much quality for a Bury side who currently reside in 15th in League One.
The under-23’s go into this game having only won once in six games, against Middlesbrough in October in the Premier League 2 competition. Hodges’ side have also lost two on the bounce in the development league.
How has it been received?
It’s a competition that has faced many obstacles and fans of lower league teams across the country have not taken too kindly to the involvement of development sides, arguing it makes a farce of the competition and takes away another chance of Wembley. It is likely that Stoke will be out of the competition of this stage, after losing two games, but this has not put Stoke fans off supporting the youth side and players.
Stoke’s youngsters have benefitted from the competition after playing against seasoned professionals and impressing at youth level has lead to Ngoy and Verlinden making the bench for the first team side.