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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's EFL Cup second round tie between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City, including team news and injury news.

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City renew their rivalry on Thursday night with a showdown in the EFL Cup second round.

While Wolves started their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 victory at Sheffield United, the Potters were held to a goalless draw by Millwall in the Championship.


Match preview

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo pictured in August 2020© Reuters

Everyone associated with Wolves were hugely disappointed to miss out on European football for a second season in succession, a setback which could potentially hinder their long-term development.

However, there is an argument that the West Midlands outfit need some time to reboot, and their performance against Sheffield United showed that a year of domestic action could help them during an uncertain period.

Nuno Espirito Santo knows that he will only be able to keep the club's stars with victories and a top-seven finish, and many of them contributed to an exciting display at Bramall Lane.

While Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss dominated the headlines, it would be unfair to completely single out the pair with the likes of Marcal, Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto all making important contributions.

Although Nuno will make changes for this competition, he will want to go as far as possible, aware that the likes of Vitinha and Fabio Silva will benefit from as many minutes as possible as they settle into life in England.

As for Stoke, Michael O'Neill may have less interest in having a prolonged run, but there will be a desire to get one over the club's rivals from years gone by.

O'Neill will also want his side to find the back of the net for the first time this season following goalless draws with Blackpool and Millwall.

Given their additions during the summer window, that should be only a matter of time, with Steven Fletcher among the players who are motivated to make an impression both in general and against his former club.

At the other end, Stoke have only conceded one goal in five pre-season and competitive fixtures, a record which suggests that Wolves will not have it all their own way on Thursday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers form (all competitions): W

Stoke City EFL Cup form: D
Stoke City form (all competitions): DD


Team News

Fabio Silva poses in the Wolves kit in September 2020© Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Having arrived from Porto for a club-record fee, Silva will make his debut in attack, accompanied by Portuguese compatriot Vitinha.

After a year out with a serious knee injury sustained in this competition, Meritan Shabani may also be provided with an opportunity.

Leander Dendoncker and Conor Coady may be the only two players to retain their starting spots.

Former Wolves skipper Danny Batth will hope to join Fletcher in the Stoke XI on Thursday night.

Jack Butland, Harry Souttar, Jordan Thompson, Josh Tymon and Tom Ince are also in contention for a starting role.

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Ruddy; Dendoncker, Coady, Kilman; Burr, Neves, Vitinha, Vinagre; Shabani, Silva, Jota

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Butland; Souttar, Batth, Martins Indi; Smith, Thompson, Clucas, Tymon; Ince, Fletcher, Campbell


SM words green background

We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Stoke City

With both managers expected to make mass changes, this game has got closely-fought contest written all over it. However, regardless of whom Nuno selects and chooses to introduce in the second half, we feel that Wolves will be able to claim a late win.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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Who will progress through to the third round of the EFL Cup?

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Stoke City
Wolverhampton Wanderers
0.0%
Stoke City
0.0%
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Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo pictured on August 10, 2020
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