Ahead of Saturday's game at the Britannia Stadium, we caught up once more with Rob, from the Stoke City blog Chief Delilah.
He gives us his views on his club's start to the season, their summer transfer dealings, the match itself and more. You can also follow Rob on Twitter @ChiefDelilah.

After such a good 2014/15, and seemingly impressive dealings in the transfer market over the summer, hopes must be high that the Potters are in for another good season?

Well yes and no really. Certainly after the way we finished last season, hammering Liverpool and finishing 9th again, and with the fairly high-profile names we've brought in, we were all hoping to push on this season. But that feeling has been tempered by the loss of basically the spine of our side. Asmir Begovic we'll probably be ok without as we've got the excellent Jack Butland, but Steven Nzonzi leaves a huge hole - he was the engine of Hughes' team, the key cog. Ryan Shawcross is our captain, leader and organiser at the back and he's out indefinitely with a back problem too. So we're well aware that it might be more difficult than we imagined this season.

Following on from that, are you disappointed with results so far and how have performances been?

Results haven't been too bad, given we've got new players settling in and key players out - two away draws and an unlucky defeat at home to Liverpool. I'm a bit concerned that we're not really creating much while being incapable of keeping a clean sheet, that's not a good look. Yet we've started slowly in each of Hughes' previous two seasons and got progressively stronger, so we're prepared to be patient. 

Albion have been linked with Jon Walters a number of times over the last few months, can you see a move happening and what would he offer us if such a move did happen?

I'd like him to stay but contract talks aren't going well, so yeah, I could definitely see him going, sadly. What he brings is work rate. He isn't the quickest or the most technically gifted but he absolutely has no quit in him, he will press and harry and monster defenders and get into good positions and run the legs of people. He's a whirling dervish. Pulis' ideal player really.

Happy with the club's summer transfer dealings? Anything else you need to do before the window shuts next week?

I'm happy with the players we've brought in, it's an interesting collection. Shaqiri obviously is an incredible signing and we're still pinching ourselves over that one. Shay Given and Glen Johnson are experienced and add depth. We've not seen too much yet from Marco van Ginkel, Ibrahim Affelay or Joselu but all arrive with a strong pedigree.

Though we've signed about nine players I still think we need a few more. There's no leader at the back with Shawcross out so we need an experienced centre back (Lescott would've been nice). Marko Arnautovic on the left could use some competition. Being greedy, a box to box midfielder, even a pale imitation of Nzonzi, would be pretty welcome at this point.

Prediction for Stoke's season?

Anywhere between 8th - 12th.

Prediction for Albion's season?

You'll be fine, say, 12th - 15th. I can see your fans tiring of TP a lot sooner than ours did though. He doesn't have the credit in the bank there he had with us after getting us promoted to the top flight for the first time in 23 years and keeping us up. I think Baggies fans will work out more quickly that he's not playing that way because needs must or he has to, but because it's the only way he knows. There aren't going to be any proper full backs or creative midfielders coming in. He doesn't do them.

Premier League champs?

Manchester City


Sunderland, Bournemouth, Watford

What line-up and tactics can we expect to see from Stoke on Saturday?

We've been playing 4-1-4-1. Butland in goal, a back four of Johnson, Cameron, Muniesa, Pieters. Whelan sitting in front of them. The Dutch lads, van Ginkel and Affelay, in front of him, and then Arnautovic and Shaqiri out wide and Diouf up front.

I think that's what he'll go with again, though I'd like to see Stephen Ireland come in and play behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1 with Affelay dropping to the bench.

Prediction and thoughts on the game?

0-0. Last on Match of the Day.


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