Stoke City will open their Championship campaign with the visit of Rotherham United. The Potters will be seeking to improve this season after finishing mid-table in 2022–23. Rotherham appears to be in for a fight to stay out of League One.
Preview (Stoke City vs. Rotherham)
Stoke was forced to settle with a 16th-place finish in the second division. It was their joint-worst performance since being demoted from the Premier League in 2018. Despite threatening to make a late playoff push in the 2022–23 Championship season. The Potters are one of many previous top-flight teams in the division that are no longer eligible for parachute payments. Despite the fact that Alex Neil’s team has welcomed some prominent names this summer. Chiquinho and Wesley, two attacking players, have arrived from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa, respectively.
In the current transfer window, the Staffordshire-based team has also made an effort to bring in players with Championship experience. Most recently, the club announced the signing of center-back Luke McNally from Burnley. The 23-year-old spent a portion of the previous season on loan at Coventry City. In 23 second-tier games played at home during the previous season, Neil’s team underperformed. Only Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic had fewer victories in front of their home crowds.
With eight league goals, the talented Irishman led the Millers in scoring last season. In June, the 26-year-old landed a lucrative transfer to Premier League newcomers Luton Town. In a separate transaction with the Hatters, right-back Fred Onyedinma has moved from Kenilworth Road. This was necessary since Wes Harding left for Millwall on a free transfer. Rotherham will be looking for a repeat of their journey to Staffordshire from last year. Midfielder Oliver Rathbone’s goal in the sixth minute against Stoke secured a victory.
After making 11 acquisitions so far this summer, Stoke is prepared to select a new-look starting lineup for their season opener on Saturday. Defenders Enda Stevens and Michael Rose will make their league debuts. The onus will be on Dwight Gayle to regain the Championship form that made him so productive for Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion in the past, despite the signing of Ryan Mmaee from Hungarian champions Ferencvaros. Irish international Mark Travers joined the Potters from Bournemouth in late July, so there might be a new face in goal this weekend.
Sean Morrison, the new club captain, may start for Rotherham at the bet365 Stadium, but if the visiting team’s center-back is not fully recovered from his injury, midfielder Rathbone will wear the armband. Although the former QPR defender has exercised this week after a scan indicated a minor leg issue, the Millers might be without the services of Grant Hall on Saturday. Jamie Lindsay is questionable for Saturday’s opening game of the campaign against Stoke as the Scotsman continues to recover from an injury sustained during the preseason program of Rotherham.
At the start of their Championship season, Stoke will be wanting to make a statement, and a match at home against Rotherham presents a strong chance to do so. Although we think the hosts will win by a slim margin, the Millers may find it difficult to avoid the relegation zone this season and will be aiming to surprise the Potters on Saturday.
Stoke 1 – 1 Rotherham
For more football previews, click here