We preview Tuesday night's big cup game…
Stevenage have a fully fit squad with the exception of midfielder Tom Conlon, who was injured late-on in Saturday's 2-1 win over Luton Town. Steven Schumacher's recovery from long-term injury continues but he is some way off first team football at present.
Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen has this afternoon confirmed that the squad that was considered for Saturday's 4-1 defeat against Manchester City will be travelling to Stevenage. Glenn Johnson and Jack Butland are among the definite absentees.
View from the dressing rooms:
Stevenage manager Darren Sarll: “It gives the players a chance to play against the people they wait up to watch on a Saturday night on Match of the Day. It is a good chance for them and some of the younger ones that will play to benchmark and test themselves against some very good players.
“It will be another one where on the evening if we have two, three under-performing it will be a real, real long night so everyone has to be at their very best tomorrow night. We know that whatever group of players come from Stoke tomorrow night, it is going to be good group of players.”
“It is a good one for us and for our efforts at Ipswich, we deserved it. I have been involved in this competition as a coach where we have seen off Premier League sides and had good runs. We are in the game to win it. I said on Saturday, we pay these gentleman to win football matches for the club and we have got to go try and win it tomorrow night.”
Stoke City assistant manager Mark Bowen: "We’ll approach it as boss Mark Hughes always does. We want to win cup games. We’ll be as strong as we can tomorrow. I think already a red light has been flagged up to us that in the last round Stevenage went away to Ipswich, who played a fairly strong side and won the tie. So straightaway we’ve got lights flashing and we know it’s going to be a difficult tie, especially at their place too.
"No disrespect to the likes of Stevenage, but for all Premier League players at this stage of the competition it’s a mental toughness that they’ve got to have to go to these places and not think they can just put the shirt on and get a win because they’re Premier League players. You need to put a shift of work in, you’ve got to put the effort in and that then gives you a platform to maybe go and win the tie with the most superior ability that you should have and are expected to have.
"We’re a bit thin at the moment anyway, we’ve got one or two injuries as well, so we haven’t got a lot of options. The full squad that was considered for Saturday’s game will be travelling to Stevenage."
The story so far…
Unlike Stevenage who are already five games into the season, Stoke have played just the two Premier League games to-date. They picked up a point on the opening day of the season with a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough, before losing 4-1 to Manchester City at home on Saturday in a game where the scoreline was perhaps a little harsh on Mark Hughes' side.
Last season Stoke finished ninth in the Barclay's Premier League, above the likes of Chelsea and Everton and they also reached the semi-finals of this cup competition. They beat Luton, Fulham, Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday before losing to Livepool on penalties after their two-legged semi-final finished 1-1 on aggregate.
Betting with Sky Bet:
Matt Godden is 17/2 to be last goalscorer, following on from Saturday's dramatic finale against Luton, whilst Ben Kennedy is 7/2 to score inside 90 minutes.
Live commentary, social media & online coverage:
Can’t make it? Listen to the game live on the Boro Player HD service from tomorrow where Steve Watkins will be leading the commentary as usual.
Our Twitter page is the place to be locked in on a matchday as we provide live minute-by-minute updates during the game as well as all of the up-to-date info and plenty of fun too.
All of our key content is linked from our Twitter account so if you are following us, you won’t miss a thing.
If you aren’t following us on Instagram yet then you should be – all the best photos from before, during and after the game will be uploaded here across the weekend.