Stoke City vs Rochdale Preview: Potters look to avoid upset in Carabao Cup

Stoke City take on Rochdale in the second round of the Carabao Cup at the bet365 Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Potters will be hoping to make the third round of the competition for the fifth time in succession.

Rochdale beat Mansfield earlier this month to progress to this stage but face a serious test in the form of an established Premier League side.

A League Cup tie between the two clubs in 1997 was the first competitive meeting at the bet365 Stadium with the visitors spoiling the party with a last minute equaliser.

Stoke to build on Arsenal victory?

Mark Hughes’ side will be buoyed by the recent victory over Arsenal at the weekend when a solitary Jese goal secured the Potters’ first win of the season.

This result was much welcome after an opening weekend defeat to Everton and a relatively quiet summer on the transfer front.

Jese's goal was enough for the three points. Source | Getty Images.
Jese's goal was enough for the three points. Source | Getty Images.

A strong team is expected to be fielded by Hughes who is looking to improve on the disappointing cup runs of last season.

Stoke, who enter the competition at this stage, have advanced past the second round in each of the last four seasons. 

The Staffordshire outfit have won two of their last three games against League One opposition and have not lost to a lower league side in the League Cup since 2012.

Dale look to cause an upset

Rochdale have not enjoyed a particularly bright start to the season having picked up just one point in their opening three league outings.

Dale have lost to newly promoted Portsmouth and fourth-placed Shrewsbury but did draw to Scunthorpe.

Rochdale lost 3-2 to Shewsbury in League One. Source | Getty Images.
Rochdale lost 3-2 to Shewsbury in League One. Source | Getty Images.

Their solitary win came against Mansfield in the first round due to a goal from Callum Camps. Goalkeeper Josh Lillis saved a penalty eight minutes from time to secure the club’s place in the draw.

Rochdale have not made the third round of the League Cup since 2011 which, coincidentally, is the last time they faced a Premier League team. The Dale beat QPR 2-0 at Loftus Road before going out to Aldershot just under a month later.

Rochdale have beaten Stoke City just three times in their 10 meetings - the last coming in the form of a League Cup match in 2007.

Shaqiri ruled out with slight strain

The hosts are expected to take the Cup seriously this term meaning that Mark Hughes is unlikely to field too many inexperienced players against Rochdale.

Xherdan Shaqiri, however, will miss the match after limping off against Arsenal with a slight strain.

Stoke will be out Xherdan Shaqiri on Wednesday. Source | Getty Images.
Stoke will be out Xherdan Shaqiri on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Lee Grant is to replace Jack Butland between the sticks.

Manager Keith Hill should make some changes during midweek with Mark Kitching and Andy Cannon set to start.

Mark Bowen addresses the media

Mark Bowen spoke to the media on Tuesday and Stoke’s assistant manager expressed the club’s desire to do better in the cup competitions this season.

Stoke went out to Hull City in the second round of the League Cup and made an early exit from the FA Cup after losing to Championship side Wolves at home.

“We didn’t cover ourselves in glory in the cup competitions last year, which was a huge disappointment to us all.” Said Bowen.

“One of the most disappointing aspects was our performances in the League Cup and FA Cup last season, so we are determined to address that, in some part, starting tomorrow.

“The manager has always put a real emphasis on doing well in these competitions because for clubs like ourselves they represent a realistic chance of winning some silverware."

Mark Hughes (L) with assistant Mark Bowen (R) at the Etihad earlier this year. Source | Getty Images.
Mark Hughes (L) with assistant Mark Bowen (R) at the Etihad earlier this year. Source | Getty Images.

Hughes is set to select his starting XI just hours before kick-off but Bowen, who joined Stoke in 2013, believes a strong side will be on show.

“We will be strong, just as we always are in cup competitions, Bowen added.

“The team hasn’t been selected yet but the manager will look at things over the next 24 hours and decide what he feels we are best going with.

“One thing is for sure though, it will be a strong side, who we feel has the capabilities to perform well and win us the game.”

Cup upset on the cards?

With Rochdale set to come against a strong side at the bet365 Stadium, manager Keith Hill might find it difficult to get a result.

These two last met in the FA Cup in 2015 with Bojan, Stephen Ireland, Victor Moses and Jon Walters scoring to see Stoke win 4-1.

As Bristol City and Doncaster Rovers showed us on Tuesday, an upset is always plausible in the cup competitions.

Prediction: Stoke City 3-0 Rochdale