Cup Campaign Begins

Muniesa Pen

Stoke’s EFL Cup campaign begins tomorrow, with The Potters hoping to go one step further than last season.

The 2015-16 run ended in shoot-out heartbreak at Anfield, with new Stoke signing Joe Allen scoring the clinching penalty.

Allen is unlikely to start at Stevenage tomorrow, but his team-mates will be hoping to emulate Stoke’s recent success in the competition.

Since promotion in 2008 Stoke have lost just twice to lower league opposition- against Championship Derby in the 08-09 quarter finals, and an embarrassing 3-4 reverse at home to League One Swindon in 2012.

In their eight seasons as a Premier League side Stoke have won 18 of 26 ties, reaching the semi-final stage once and the quarter-finals on a couple of occasions.

Prior to promotion Stoke’s record in the League Cup- rebranded as the EFL Cup this season- was dire. They won just one tie in seven years- a last minute victory over Rochdale in 2003- losing to lower league opposition in five of those seven campaigns.

The tide has turned since those dark days though, and recent success gives Stoke high hopes of a safe progression in their first competitive meeting with Stevenage.

Last season should serve as a warning for The Potters though when, at the same stage, they scraped past Luton on penalties.

Ironically, Broadhall Way is the closest professional ground to Luton’s Kenilworth Road. Hopefully the journey home for Stoke fans is not quite as late as 12 months ago and we can secure progression in the 90 minutes.

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