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Laurent starts: The strongest Stoke City XI O’Neill can field as Millwall clash looms

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Stoke City begin their Championship season in just over a week against Millwall. 

Michael O’Neill’s side will be looking for a fast start in a bid to blow off the cobwebs of last season and fuel belief that there might be a sustained push for the top-six coming.

Nevertheless, it’s a tough start against a Millwall side that have been busy and efficient in the transfer window so far.

What about Stoke, then? How is their own squad shaping up ahead of the season opener?

As our graphic above shows, there are a number of new signings that you’d expect to be starting against Millwall, whilst injuries are already niggling away at O’Neill’s squad.

Starting with the system, we can probably expect to see something of a 5-3-2 to begin with.

Joe Bursik is likely to be in goal, whilst of the available defenders, you can see Phil Jagielka, Aden Flint and Ben Wilmot at centre-back, with Josh Tymon and Harry Clarke as wing-backs.

Quiz: Can you identify the 10 fake Stoke City facts?

1 of 25

1. Gavin Kilkenny joined from Bournemouth this summer

Despite the absence of Nick Powell in the midfield, there are plenty of options in the engine room for O’Neill to consider.

It might be that Gavin Kilkenny is joined by Josh Laurent and Lewis Baker, with the latter pair given that touch more freedom to get forwards as attacking No.8s.

At the time of writing, the Potters are working on the signing of Dwight Gayle and, even in the event of the Newcastle United forward arriving, it’s not clear whether he’s going to be anywhere near fit enough to start the season.

Tyrese Campbell and Jacob Brown could well begin the season leading the line.


Alfie is a journalist based in Yorkshire with years of experience covering the EFL. A current focus on Huddersfield Town and their fortunes back in the Championship, but out and about at as many games as possible. Covered Leeds United during their promotion-winning season in 2019/20.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Laurent starts: The strongest Stoke City XI O’Neill can field as Millwall clash looms

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