Stoke City

The Lowdown: The Foxes' FA Cup Opponents, Stoke City

Leicester City's 2020/21 Emirates FA Cup journey begins with a trip to face Stoke City on Saturday 9 January (3pm kick-off).

The cup clash against the Sky Bet Championship outfit will be both sides' first fixture in this season's competition, with the Foxes fresh from a 2-1 triumph over Newcastle United last weekend, while the Potters will want to bounce back from a home defeat to Bournemouth.

Ahead of City visiting Staffordshire, LCFC.com gives an in-depth overview of their latest opponents, including their manager, squad and recent league results...

The team

Expand photo
Jacob Brown
Jacob Brown

Jacob Brown has made a good impression since his summer move from Barnsley, scoring five times so far this season.

It was another significant summer of upheaval at bet365 Stadium as Stoke City look to move towards the upper reaches of the second tier for the first time since relegation from the Premier League in 2017/18.

On the pitch, Tyrese Campbell tops the charts for goals scored, with seven from 18 games in all competitions, while Nick Powell has netted five and veteran forward Steven Fletcher has scored four.

Only one player, winger Jacob Brown (25 appearances), has featured more times for Stoke this season than Powell and defender Tommy Smith, who have made 23 appearances each. Brown, a summer signing from league rivals Barnsley, was recruited along with left-back Morgan Fox and Fletcher, who both moved from Sheffield Wednesday.

Stoke also bolstered their defensive ranks with the signings of goalkeeper Angus Gunn from Southampton and Aston Villa centre-back James Chester, both on free transfers.

Meanwhile, Jack Butland left to join Crystal Palace on a permanent deal, while Peter Etebo and Benik Afobe made loan moves to the Turkish Süper Lig. Adam Federici, Stephen Ward and Mame Biram Diouf also departed at the end of their contracts, as Michael O'Neill looked to build a squad capable of promotion.

Several experienced players still remain in Stoke's ranks, including Welsh midfielder Joe Allen, former Chelsea enforcer John Obi Mikel and forward Sam Vokes. 

The manager

Expand photo
Michael O'Neill
Michael O'Neill

Michael O'Neill is into his first full season as Stoke manager.

This is Michael O'Neill's first job in English club management after a successful nine-year spell as manager of Northern Ireland. Often playing as the underdogs, O'Neill guided Norn Iron to their first major tournament since 1986 by qualifying for the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France.

Reaching the last 16 of the competition in their maiden appearance was a significant achievement for O'Neill and the country, who exited after a narrow defeat to eventual semi-finalists, Wales.

In November 2019, midway through Northern Ireland's latest European Championship Qualifying campaign, O'Neill agreed to take charge of Stoke City. He originally intended to stay on as manager until after the conclusion of the European play-offs in March 2020, but following their postponement, he left his post in April 2020 to solely focus on his job at Stoke.

O'Neill took over with the side bottom of the Championship after a poor run of results under former manager Nathan Jones. Winning his first match in charge, a 4-2 away triumph over Barnsley, Stoke were soon out of the relegation zone.

The Potters recorded their biggest league win of the season by beating Hull City 5-1 in March 2020 and went on to win four of their last nine, finishing in 15th, eight points clear of the bottom three.

His previous jobs in management include spells in Scotland, with Second Division side Brechin City, from April 2006 to December 2008, and in Ireland, where he won back-to-back league titles as manager of Shamrock Rovers.

He completed a league-cup double in 2010, as well as becoming the first League of Ireland manager to reach the group stages of a European competition, competing in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League before O'Neill left, after three years in charge, in December 2011.

Form guide

Expand photo
Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Nick Powell's goal against Blackburn handed Stoke their only win from the last eight games.

Beginning December with two 1-0 wins against Wycombe Wanderers and Middlesbrough, Stoke have since struggled for form, winning just one of their last eight games in all competitions.

Home defeats to Cardiff City, Tottenham Hotspur (in the Carabao Cup) and AFC Bournemouth have been sandwiched in-between three goalless away draws with Derby County, Queens Park Rangers and Coventry City.

Their sole victory during that run came at home to Blackburn Rovers, courtesy of Nick Powell's early goal, while a 1-1 stalemate versus Nottingham Forest finished off Stoke's 2020 fixture list. The Potters are currently eighth in the Championship table, just two points outside the play-offs.

Previous encounters

Expand photo
Youri Tielemans
Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans scored the winner during Leicester's pre-season visit to Stoke in 2019.

Leicester last visited bet365 Stadium for a pre-season friendly with the Potters ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, coming away with a 2-1 win thanks to Youri Tielemans' late strike, after Marc Albrighton handed the visitors the lead.

The last two competitive fixtures between the sides, during the 2017/18 Premier League season, both ended in draws. A 2-2 stalemate in Staffordshire in November 2017 was followed by a 1-1 scoreline at King Power Stadium in February 2018.

The trophy cabinet

Expand photo
Stoke City League Cup 1972
Stoke City League Cup 1972

Stoke's 1972 League Cup winning team included the late Gordon Banks.

Stoke’s most significant piece of silverware came in 1972, when they lifted the League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Wembley, with the late Gordon Banks in goal for the Potters on that day.

They have twice won the Football League Trophy, now named the Checkatrade Trophy, in 1992 and 2000, while they have two second division and two third division titles to their name.

Their most recent trip to Wembley Stadium, meanwhile, came in 2011, when they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Manchester City in the FA Cup Final, following a 5-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on the same turf in the semi-finals.

The stadium

Expand photo
The bet365 Stadium
The bet365 Stadium

The bet365 Stadium replaced Stoke's former home of the Victoria Ground.

The Potters' bet365 stadium has a capacity of just over 30,000 people after an expansion was completed on the south-east corner in 2017.

Stoke have occupied the ground, which is located on Stanley Matthews Way, since 1997, while it has hosted a number of international youth friendlies.

The fixtures

Expand photo
John Obi Mikel
John Obi Mikel

John Obi Mikel battles for the ball with Lewis Cook during Stoke's recent home defeat to Bournemouth.

A week after hosting Leicester City, the Potters travel to meet Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in their return to league action on Saturday 16 January (3pm kick-off).

Another away game against Rotherham United follows on Wednesday 19 January (7:45pm kick-off), before tackling Watford at bet365 Stadium on Saturday 23 January (3pm kick-off).

Stoke's next four games see them face Huddersfield Town (A), Reading (H), Norwich City (A) and Sheffield Wednesday (H), ahead of a meeting with Luton Town and former manager Nathan Jones on Saturday 20 February (3pm kick-off). 

All times GMT.

Latest News

Latest Galleries

Latest Videos

Leicester City Crest

Latest News

More Videos

Latest Images