Bowen insists Potters not taking Cup lightly
Assistant manager Mark Bowen insists Stoke are not taking Stevenage lightly as they prepare for their EFL Cup tie against the League Two club.
Stoke suffered a scare at this stage of the competition 12 months ago when they were taken to penalties by Luton, also of League Two, but managed to prevail in the shootout.
Stevenage have already claimed the scalp of Championship side Ipswich in the previous round and Bowen expects whatever Stoke team takes the field at Broadhall Way to show both the appropriate fight and quality to get the Potters into the next round.
"Cups are massively important for us and Everton at the weekend cannot be in our mind yet because we have plenty of time to recover. We'll be all guns blazing for tomorrow night," said Bowen.
"We approach it like we always do; we want to win cup matches. We'll go as strong as we can and we already know that Ipswich Town played a strong side in the last round and Stevenage won so that's a 'red light' for us.
"We nearly got caught at Luton Town in the same stage last season and we'll need a mental toughness to go there and win. We need to put a shift in and hopefully show the superiority that we should have."
It looks like Stoke will head to Hertfordshire with an unchanged squad, although there are expected to be several changes to the starting line up with the likes of Jonathan Walters, Marc Muniesa, Geoff Cameron, Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch, all of whom were on the bench against Manchester City at the weekend, likely to be involved.
Bowen said: "We're a little bit thin in terms of numbers so I imagine the full squad from Saturday will travel. (Xherdan) Shaqiri is still a little bit away. Glen Johnson trained but its only his first session so he won't travel whilst Jack Butland is still with the physios as we speak."