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Preview: Stoke City vs. Bristol City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Championship fixture between Stoke City and Bristol City, including team news and injury news.

Stoke City head into their Championship encounter with Bristol City on Sunday afternoon after beginning their campaign with a goalless draw at Millwall.

Meanwhile, the visitors, now under the full-time guidance of Dean Holden, edged out newly-promoted Coventry City by a 2-1 scoreline.

Match preview

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured on July 4, 2020© Reuters

While both of these clubs endured disappointing campaigns during 2019-20, everything is pointing towards the opposite occurring this time around.

After a solid goalless draw away at Millwall last weekend, Stoke followed that result with a hugely-impressive 1-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the EFL Cup.

Having made seven changes for the game at Molineux, Michael O'Neill will have full confidence that his team can continue on their upward trajectory over the next eight months.

Although goals are generally proving to be an issue, the Potters have now kept three clean sheets in a row, a record which seemed unlikely in the aftermath of their 5-0 thrashing at Leeds United back in July.

Finding the back of the net, nor keeping things tight at the back, have not been a problem for Bristol City after an excellent start to life under Holden.

Having done enough to earn a permanent deal at Ashton Gate, the newly-appointed boss has witnessed the Robins register three successive wins and score eight goals.

Two of those results have come against teams below Championship level in the EFL Cup, but there is a freshness about this side as they look to eradicate the inconsistencies from years gone by.

Each of the games against Exeter City, Coventry City and Northampton Town have been played on familiar territory, however, and Holden will recognise that taking on Stoke at the bet365 Stadium represents a significant step up for his side.

Stoke City Championship form: D
Stoke City form (all competitions): DWW

Bristol City Championship form: W
Bristol City form (all competitions): WWW

Team News

Bristol City assistant manager Dean Holden pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Holden will be forced into at least one change after Tomas Kalas sustained a shoulder injury in midweek.

Zak Vyner is in line to keep his place in the side, but there is fierce competition for places further forward.

Kasey Palmer, Antoine Semenyo and Chris Martin will all feel like they deserve a starting spot after starring in the EFL Cup.

Although the alterations made on Thursday led to a victory, O'Neill is likely to revert to the team which started against Millwall.

That would see Jacob Brown, the goalscorer at Wolves, and Steven Fletcher have to bide their time among the replacements.

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Davies; Chester, Batth, Martins Indi; Smith, Powell, Mikel, Clucas, Fox; Vokes, Campbell

Bristol City possible starting lineup:
Bentley; Mawson, Moore, Vyner; Hunt, Paterson, Weimann, Massengo, Rowe; Martin, Wells

SM words green background

We say: Stoke City 2-1 Bristol City

With both teams having strengthened during the summer, this has all the makings of a hard-fought contest. While it may be difficult for a winner to materialise, a more direct approach from Stoke in the final stages may prove decisive.

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Bristol City assistant manager Dean Holden pictured in July 2020
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