Stoke City are in deep, deep trouble at the moment languishing at the rock bottom of the Premier League having collected just one solitary point from five Premier League games. With 3 goals scored this season and 14 conceded from five outings, things look far from promising for the Potters and Mark Hughes looks under a considerable amount of pressure. Further problems could be coming their way tonight when they take on Hull City at the Bet365 Stadium in the third round of the League Cup.
Things did not go Hull City’s way after they secured their promotion winning the Championship playoff final last season with Steve Bruce leaving the club at the worst possible time and their lack of activity in the transfer market but still the Tigers managed to start their comeback season into the Premier League on a strong note. However, in the last three games, their form has taken a big dip. Mike Phelan will be looking to use the lacklustre form of the Potters to bring his side back on track.
Ibrahim Afellay (knee), Stephen Ireland (broken leg) and Jack Butland (ankle) are all on the sidelines with long-term injuries. Mark Hughes is unlikely to make too many changes to his starting XI as he is in no position to experiment. Hughes will look forward to experienced players like Phil Bardsley, Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam to lift the mood.
Michael Dawson, Moses Odubajo, Greg Luer (all knee), Allan McGregor (back) and Alex Bruce (Achilles) remain out or contention while Jake Livermore is suspended following his red card against Arsenal. Phelan could hand as many as six debuts if reports are to be believed. David Marshall, Ryan Mason and Dieumerci Mbokani all look certain to start while Will Keane and Markus Henriksen are also in line.
Predicted line-ups and tactical setups
Lee Grant is expected to start under the bar behind the back four of Bardsley, Shawcross, Cameron and Pieters. Glenn Whelan will start in the middle of the park alongside Charlie Adam. Bojan and Arnautovic are expected to start on the flanks. Jonathan Walters could start as a secondary forward behind Peter Crouch.
Starting XI: Grant; Bardsley, Shawcross, Cameron, Pieters; Whelan, Adam; Bojan, Walters, Arnautovic; Crouch
The Tigers are likely to make wholesale changes to the starting XI. Marshall is likely to make his debut under the bar behind the back four of Elmohamady, Maguire, Davies and Robertson. Ryan Mason, Markus Henriksen and James Weir are likely to start in a 3-man midfield. Shaun Maloney is likely to start as the attacking midfielder behind striker duo Mbokani and Keane.
Starting XI: Marshall; Elmohamady, Maguire, Davies, Robertson; Mason, Henriksen, Weir; Maloney; Mbokani, Keane
Stoke City win @1.80
Hull City win @4.75