Date: 14th August 2007 at 4:49pm
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Stoke City travel to Rochdale tonight for the Potters’ seemingly annual humiliation in the first round of the League Cup.

You can call me negative if you want, but we hardly have a good record in the first round of this competition with last season’s 2-1 defeat at the same stage at Darlington fresh in fans’ memories and the defeat at Mansfield two years ago. Still, new season, fresh hopes and you would expect us to have more than enough to overturn the League 2 outfit.

Stoke may take an early opportunity to rest players ahead of Charlton’s visit to the Brit on Saturday and have only named five players as likely to play: Shawcross, Higginbotham, Dickinson, Lawrence, Sidibe.

This even leaves the door open for veteran keeper, Russell Hoult to make his first start for the Potters since joining from West Brom last January. Clint Hill and Vincent Pericard are definitely out, due to suspension and injury respectively. We would expect Jon Parkin to be given a start up front alongside Mama Sidibe, after he sat out the Potters’ 1-0 win at Cardiff at the weekend.