Stoke City welcome Rotherham City to the Bet365 Stadium for their opening game of the Championship season this Saturday. With both teams having less than ideal campaigns in the 2022/23 seasons, being able to start their seasons with three points would be the best possible way to start their season.
The Potters finished the 2022/23 season in an uninspiring 16th on 53 points. Stoke only managed 14 wins in 46 games, losing four of their last five games, leaving them only nine points above the relegation zone and 16 points adrift of the Play-off places.
Over the summer, Stoke have added to their roster, most notably Ryan Mmaee from Ferencvaros for £4 million and Andre Vidigal from Maritimo for £500,000. Though Stoke are still linked with a move for Axel Tuanzebe.
In their preseason schedule, Stoke have played five club friendlies. Of these Stoke only managed two wins, a draw and two losses. The Potters scored five against recently promoted Notts County and managed a close 1 - 0 win over Burton. However, Stoke could only manage a 1 - 1 draw with Levante, then losing 3 - 0 to Derby County and Everton.
Rotherham had a similarly disappointing campaign after finishing a mere 19th in the Championship. Matt Taylor’s side finished the season with just 11 wins and a worrying 50 points, The Millers sitting a small six points away from the relegation zone and even further 19 points from the desired Play-off places.
Rotherham have brought some new talent in this summer, namely Cafu from Premier League Nottingham Forest, Grant Hall from Middlesbrough and Dillon Phillips from Cardiff, all on free transfers.
The Millers have also had a five game run-out this pre season, winning three times and losing twice. Rotherham kicked off their preseason with a 1 - 0 loss to Elche, followed by the 2 - 0 loss to fellow Championship side Middlesbrough. However, The Millers hit their run with a 4 - 2 win over Mansfield Town, a 1 - 0 win over Sheffield United and a 3 - 0 win over Lincoln City.
Stoke and Rotherham have met 44 times in their histories, their first meeting coming back on Christmas Day in 1926. Since that first game, Stoke have had a narrow lead over Rotherham in their head-to-head statistics. The Potters have won this fixture on 17 occasions whereas Rotherham have only won 14 times, the remaining 13 games ending with a share of the points.
The last five meetings between the sides have ended in three draws, a win for Stoke and a win for Rotherham. Like recent history, a draw is a likely conclusion to Saturday’s match as well. However, all of these recent draws have been high-scoring affairs, with two 2 - 2 draws and a 3 - 3 draw, meaning this weekend could be a feast for goals.