Reading narrowly missed out on the playoffs last year, while their hosts only fell out of reach in the final third of the season, and both sides will have their sights set on a top-six finish this time around.
Under the management of Michael O'Neill, Stoke City had a strong start to last season, hovering around the playoff spots at the half-way point, but their form quickly tailed off in the new year.
With just six victories from the 24 games after the turn of the year, the Potters eventually finished in 14th spot, although the season did end on a high with an impressive 2-0 win over sixth-placed AFC Bournemouth.
With O'Neill keeping the trust of the Stoke hierarchy and with a lot of the dead weight removed from the squad in the summer transfer window, this could be a big season for the Potters, who will be keen to sustain a push for the playoff's after last season's disappointment after the half-way mark.
On the whole, their pre-season campaign has put them in good shape, as O'Neill has overseen victories over Linfield, Crewe Alexandra and Aston Villa.
While they did suffer a disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of third-tier Wigan Athletic, the Potters bounced back with a commendable 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in their final friendly, providing plenty of encouragement heading into the new campaign.
They have been handed a tough opening encounter, playing host to a Reading side who narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season.
Reading certainly had a mixed campaign last season, having sat at the summit of the Championship table until the 11th game of the season.
They would eventually be brought off the top by a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Saturday's opponents, but managed to keep hold of a spot in the playoff places for the majority of the campaign.
Veljko Paunovic's side then occupied fifth spot until mid-March, but a run of just one victory from the final 11 games of the season saw the Royals drop to seventh spot, eventually finishing seven points behind Bournemouth in sixth place.
The Royals head into this season looking to go one better and achieve a top-six finish, although their pre-season preparations were far from ideal, having been comfortably defeated by West Ham United and Crystal Palace and held to a 1-1 draw by third-tier Charlton Athletic after opening with a narrow 1-0 win over Lincoln City.
Following last season's early success, Paunovic will know the importance of a fast start in the Championship, and his side will be keen to put a win on the board at the first time of asking to provide a platform for the busy upcoming run.
The Stoke City squad for Saturday's game is vastly different to the one that completed the 2020-21 season, with the likes of Ryan Woods, Lee Gregory, Bruno Martins Indi, John Obi Mikel and Liam Lindsay all shipped out on permanent deals while Benik Afobe and Peter Etebo have completed loan moves to Millwall and Watford respectively.
Mario Vrancic was another arrival as he joined on a free transfer from Norwich City, while forward Sam Surridge was the latest addition following a move from AFC Bournemouth, although he will have to battle with the likes of Steven Fletcher and Jacob Brown for a spot in the front line.
Tyrese Campbell, another of O'Neill's attacking stars will miss the beginning of the campaign as he continues to recover from an injury that ruled him out for the majority of last season.
While Reading have not had as much movement in the summer transfer window, they will certainly feel the effects of the departure of exciting midfielder Michael Olise, who left for Crystal Palace after registering seven goals and 12 assists in Championship action last season.
John Swift possesses the ability to cover Olise's attacking contributions if his continued injury problems do not persist.
Midfielder Felipe Araruna will miss out, as he continues to recover from a serious knee injury.
Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Bursik; Wilmot, Souttar, Fox; Smith, Vrancic, Allen, Tymon; Powell; Fletcher, Brown
Reading possible starting lineup:
Cabral; Yiadom, Moore, Morrison, McIntyre; Rinomhota, Laurent; Puscas, Swift, Ejaria; Joao
We say: Stoke City 1-1 Reading
Reading had a particularly impressive start to last season under Paunovic and still possess the majority of their important players, while Stoke could look a completely new proposition this season with several valuable additions and the removal of dead weight.
We see the two sides opening with a stalemate as both look to get off to a good start while fearing a defeat.