Stoke City manager Nathan Jones says he will ‘use his squad’ when the Potters travel to League Two Crawley Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
The Potters will return to league action just three days after the trip to Crawley when they face Nottingham Forest at The City Ground on Friday night, and it seems that has come into Jones’ thinking as he looks to avoid an upset in midweek.
Speaking to the club’s official website about the sort of side he will select for the clash with the League Two side, Jones said: “I’m not saying there will be wholesale changes but we have to use the squad.”
Jones’ side picked up just their second point of the Championship season at the weekend with a 0-0 draw at Brentford moving them off the bottom of the table.
The Stoke boss went on to reveal the balancing act within his squad that began with that game, and will continue throughout the course of this week, as he continued: “We did that against Brentford on Saturday. We went with a light squad; we travelled with the 18 and left some at home so they can get training in them and they’re not travelling.
“We’ll go down to Crawley on Tuesday and again we’ll travel with as light squad as possible so the others can train on Wednesday.”
Stoke have made it to the third round of the cup following a 1-0 win over Wigan and a penalty shootout victory over Leeds United in a game that the Potters had at one point led 2-0.
I think Jones has to be careful how he approaches this one.
For most Championship sides, this would be the perfect opportunity to give a number of players who are perhaps not quite as regular features in the side to enjoy a run-out.
For Stoke however, you feel that there current league position means this could be an opportunity for some of those regular starters this season to pick up some much-needed confidence, potentially relieving some of the pressure on Jones in the process.
Having already shocked Premier League Norwich to make it this far, Crawley will be full of confidence heading into this one, and that will surely make this a dangerous task for the Potters, particularly considering the Championship side are away from here.