It has been a bitterly disappointing start to the season for Stoke City, who lie bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table as we enter the second month of the campaign.
Big things were expected from the Potters after making a host of big-name signings in the summer, with the likes of Nick Powell, Liam Lindsay and Lee Gregory all arriving at the bet365 Stadium.
But Nathan Jones’ side have got off to the worst possible start, managing just one point and losing five of their opening six league games, with the pressure starting to pile on the Welshman.
It was always going to be an important season for Stoke and in particular Jones – he had the chance to rebuild his squad in the summer after struggling to get to grips with the one left at his disposal by Gary Rowett last term.
But after conceding 15 goals in their first six league outings, there are still a whole load of issues to sort out at the Staffordshire club, with plenty of Potters fans already losing patience with the 46-year-old.
FLW Chief Editor Sam Rourke recently caught up with former Leeds midfielder and Sky Sports presenter David Prutton, who gave a verdict on Jones’ future at the bet365 Stadium.
He said that the next couple of games of the season could decide his future at the club, saying: “I think the next couple of games are vital. Any team that’s struggling either goes into the international break making a managerial change, or look to give the current manager time to sort something out.
“Their start to the season has been nowhere near what he would have wanted. You look at the names in that squad and how they’ve performed in games at key times, they are nowhere near it, absolutely nowhere near it.
“They are a group of players that are well-known at this level, some are even better known in the Premier League, and it won’t have been cheap to assemble a squad like that.
“You want a young coach like Jones to be given a decent crack of the whip and a decent amount of time to implement his style, but he has been there for a long time now, and he has got his work cut out.
“Whenever you speak to him, you understand the intensity of the man and the commitment that he shows for 25 hours a day on trying to make Stoke a better place. As long as the players work at the same tilt and with the same intensity and commitment, their quality should show through.”
Stoke host play-off contenders Bristol City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon, another tough test for Jones’ side, with the Robins occupying fifth spot in the Championship table.
Lee Johnson’s side have won three of their last four league games, and haven’t suffered a defeat since their opening day clash with Leeds.