Stoke City will play outside England’s top flight for the first time this season since 2008, following their relegation from the Premier League.
New head coach Gary Rowett has begun bolstering his squad ahead of the season, with the hope of bouncing straight back up come the end of the Championship campaign.
With the acquisitions of Benik Afobe, Tom Ince and James McClean, it is clear that the Potters mean business this season, and will be a real threat for their fellow Championship sides.
However, the sales of Ramadan Sobhi and Xherdan Shaqiri have left Stoke weaker in their attacking line.
With the recent news that Premier League veteran Peter Crouch has reportedly received interest from the likes of Burnley, you do begin to question whether the Potters will have enough of an attacking threat to make it back to the top flight.
While Crouch may not start every game for Rowett’s side this coming season, the inclusion of the centre-forward in the squad could be essential for success.
Having only started 14 matches for the Potters last season, making a further 17 appearances off the bench, Crouch bagged himself five goals and two assists.
While the tally may not be astronomical, it is the presence, experience and depth to the squad that the 6ft 7in target man can bring to the Championship this season.
Crouch, who signed for Stoke City in 2011, has enjoyed spells in England’s top flight at number of English clubs, including Tottenham, QPR, Aston Villa, Southampton and Liverpool, but it is in the second division where he could shine this season.
With age not on his side, and certainly not the athlete he once was, the drop down to the Championship could be a great one for both Crouch and Stoke.
Holding onto the forward, who has scored over 200 goals in his career, 45 of which of those were for the Potters, could be the difference between bouncing straight back to the Premier League or not.
While Burnley will be hoping that the idea of Europa League football can persuade the Premier League veteran to make the move to Turf Moor, it will leave the fans at the bet365 Stadium worrying about the lack of fire power up top, making it even more essential Crouch stays at Stoke.Like what the FLW have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!