Wolverhampton Wanderers are now enjoying their third season in the Premier League since getting promoted and it is another case of rolling sleeves up and grafting away until the west Midlands club get those magical 40 points.
14 points are on the board from 15 games thus far and any form of improvement from Bolton and Blackburn would put Mick McCarthy’s team in the relegation zone if they don’t start getting more points on the board, although the manager will have identified this as a game where a maximum haul can be landed.
After all, Stoke have a poor record in games that come immediately after Europa League assignments although Tony Pulis did leave most of the first team at home this week after the Potters booked their place in the last 32 a few weeks ago.
The bookmakers have Wolves as slight favourites for this Staffordshire clash, offering 6/4 (bet365 – £200 free bets) about Wanderers and they have won their past two matches at Molineux. Indeed, it must please McCarthy that they are picking up points against fellow strugglers like Wigan and Sunderland when their record against lesser teams was poor last term.
Even so, the visitors arrive off the back of three wins in the Premier League, with the latest coming against high-flying Tottenham where Stoke got into a 2-0 lead and were just about able to hold off Spurs in the second half.
They won at this ground in the FA Cup last season and Ladbrokes (£50 free betting) go 7/4 that Pulis’ side continue their fine form by winning this match, with Matthew Etherington available at 14/1 to score the first goal following the winger’s brace against former club Spurs at the weekend.