Mark Bowen: Stoke are up for the cup

22 August 2017

Assistant manager Mark Bowen insists Stoke are looking for an improved run in the cups this season - starting with the visit of Rochdale in the Carabao Cup.

The Potters suffered an early exit from the competition last season as they were beaten at home by Hull while their FA Cup hopes were also short-lived as Championship club Wolves knocked them out at the first hurdle in an upset at the bet365 Stadium.

Bowen says Stoke will have the utmost respect for League One Rochdale ahead of Wednesday night's second-round tie.

"We didn't cover ourselves in glory in the cup competitions last year, which was a huge disappointment to us all," Bowen told the club's official website.

"We are determined to address that, in some part, starting tomorrow. There's only so many competitions you've got a chance of winning, so it's massively important to get through this tie.

"(Rochdale manager) Keith Hill is going to have them well prepared. They haven't started the season particularly well, but we know they will be well prepared and fired up because he's a massively experienced manager and we have a lot of respect for him."

Stoke are likely to be without Xherdan Shaqiri after t he Switzerland international had to be replaced midway through the first half of Saturday's 1-0 win over Arsenal after pulling up with a slight hamstring strain. However, Bowen expects plenty of other first-team regulars to be involved.

"We will be strong, just as we always are in cup competitions," he said.

"The team hasn't been selected yet but the manager will look at things over the next 24 hours and decide what he feels we are best going with - who we feel has the capabilities to perform well and win us the game."

The tie comes 20 years after Rochdale were the first visitors to the newly-opened then-Britannia Stadium in another League Cup tie.

Bowen added: "There's a bit of nostalgia to it and I think it finished a draw on that occasion, but hopefully we can win this time."